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Honda Making New Dedicated Hybrid to Fight Toyota Prius



2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Car, rear

With the Honda Insight and CR-Z models receiving the axe, Honda no longer has a fully-dedicated hybrid model to fight the Toyota Prius. However, that will soon change.

The Japanese automaker is serious about electrifying its lineup, as evidenced by the revised Accord Hybrid, Clarity Fuel Cell and the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in hybrid models, and had confirmed that a new dedicated hybrid will be added to the lineup sometime in 2018.

In fact, as part of its Electrification Initiative, Honda will significantly expand the number of electrified models in its lineup. More than half of all new models launching in 2018 and 2019 will be electrified, and this includes a hybrid version of the Ridgeline light pickup truck.

The company has the ambitious goal of halving its total CO2 emissions from 2000 levels by 2050. It wants two-thirds of all sales to come from electrified models by 2030.

Let’s hope the dedicated hybrid model at least fares better than the Insight did against the seemingly indomitable Prius.


Honda Resurrects Long-Dead Passport SUV For 2018



New Honda Avancier SUV - China

Are you old enough to remember the Honda Passport? Having been dead for while, it’s now being resurrected.

The Passport dates back to the mid 1990s and was Honda’s first SUV long before the CR-V or Pilot became the household names they are. Production ended in 2002, but the Japanese automaker has reportedly revived the name for an all-new, five-passenger crossover that slots between the CR-V and Pilot, much like it did with the new Insight.

According to , the new Passport likely rides on a six-inch shorter version of the Pilot’s platform and seats only five passengers. Leaked patent photos suggest it will resemble the Honda Avancier sold in China (pictured), especially from the profile, featuring blunt proportions and a sloping roofline for a coupe-like look.

As a five-seater, the Passport competes with the likes of the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, as well as the upcoming Chevy Blazer, in a relatively uncluttered mid-size crossover segment.

It will make its world debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show before going on sale in early 2019, with production expected to take place alongside the Pilot, Ridgeline and Odyssey at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama plant.

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New Honda Insight Prototype Marks Return Of Insight Hybrid



New, 2019 Honda Insight Prototype

The Honda Insight hybrid is back but not as the car you expected.

After two attempts to take on the Toyota Prius, Honda has reinvented the Insight back as a stylish hybrid sedan positioned between the Civic and Accord, featuring styling that’s a mesh of the two. It’s no longer a funky-looking hatchback and, frankly, will upset far fewer people than the rather polarizing Prius.

The new Insight debuted as a prototype, but as is typical with all Honda prototypes, the production model will be virtually identical visually and mechanically. It is powered by the Japanese automaker’s two-motor hybrid system, which consists of a 1.5L gas engine and an electric motor backed by a lithium-ion battery pack, with both motors transitioning smoothly between each other in everyday use.

You might never need to stop at a gas station because the Insight will operate mainly as an electric vehicle, with its gas engine primarily serving as a generator for the car’s battery pack. However, should you, Honda is targeting a combined city/highway EPA rating of over 50 mpg — much better than the previous Insight, which barely managed to compete against the Prius.

Essentially the hybrid version of the Civic, the Insight will offer more room, comfort and on-board tech than its gasoline-powered counterpart, including a customizable 8-inch touchscreen display that allows users to create home screen shortcuts, a 7-inch LCD gauge cluster, and WiFi-enabled over-the-air system updates.

Honda hasn’t fared well with its dedicated hybrid vehicles, having recently put the poor-selling CR-Z hybrid sports car out of its misery. Add to that the added competition from Hyundai with the Ioniq and Kia with its Niro hybrid, and we don’t think the company risked skimping on its third attempt at the segment.

The production Honda Insight is scheduled to go on sale in 2018. Would you choose it over the latest Toyota Prius?

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Concept Car

Honda Reveals ‘3E’ Robots Called Empathy, Experience And Empower



New Honda 3E Robots

It’s a little known fact that Honda makes more than just cars, with its expertise extending to motorcycles, aircraft, power equipment and robots. The Japanese automaker has now broadened its vision for robots.

At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Expo, Honda unveiled a series of robotic concepts termed 3E — represents ‘Empower,’ ‘Experience’ and ‘Empathy’ — that serve public, workplace and consumer purposes and can operate autonomously.

The Empathy robot is a creepy-looking bugger called 3E-A18, and it’s optimized for supporting people in their daily lives, such as serving as a guide at airports or shopping malls. Honda says the 3E-A18’s soft-touch skin “invites people to touch or hug” it.

Second up is the 3E-C18 — the Experience robot. It can supposedly learn by observing peoples’ action and features a cart-like design optimized for carrying spaces, as well as a canopy combined with a compact-sized vehicle body base with a driving function.

Last but not least are the 3E-B18 and 3E-D18, the Empower robots. The former is a chair-type mobility concept designed to help support people with baggage carts or strollers, while the latter is an autonomous off-road vehicle with AI designed to support people in a broad range of work activities.

The robots utilize Honda’s Mobile Power Pack World concept, a swappable battery system with detachable power modules that can be charged using renewable energy and then placed into a robot or vehicle for power on the go.

Honda R&D chief Yoshiyuki Matsumoto stated:

“We have entered an era when robotics will become increasingly visible and essential in our everyday lives and have the ability to unlock human potential.”

While Honda hasn’t confirmed if any of the concepts will be produced, is there any particular one you want to see?

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