honda tests solar charging

Honda’s electric test vehicles refuel at a solar-powered charging station

With global competition in electric vehicles set to heat up, Honda is starting tests of its next-generation mobility products.

The Japanese auto and motorcycle maker said its Electric Vehicle Testing Program, to be conducted in Saitama Prefecture, will include electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, electric scooters and electric carts.

The tests will be conducted in real-world urban transportation environments and the focus will be on electric vehicles. Advanced communications, telematics and solar-powered charging technologies will also be tested for their suitability and their potential to lower CO2 emissions.

Next to Saitama, tests will be conducted in Kumagaya and Chichibu in Japan. In the US, tests will be done in Torrance, California, and Honda is considering a similar program for China.

Honda said it would use the results of the tests in its planning for further new electromobility initiatives and products.

For its full-electric vehicle tests, Honda is using its Fit model, equipped with a coaxial motor and other electromotive technologies developed for the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle. The car will use a Toshiba-produced lithium-ion battery.

Honda will test a plug-in hybrid vehicle based on the platform of the Inspire mid-sized sedan. Equipped with a 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine and two high-output electric motors, the modified Inspire can be operated in three drive modes: all-electric, gasoline-electric hybrid and engine drive modes. The lithium-ion battery is manufactured by Blue Energy and has an independent range of between 15 and 25 km.

Honda’s Monpal ML200 electric cart, which was first launched in 2006, will also be used as a testing vehicle. In addition, the company builds an electric scooter, which started a lease sales program on December 24.

In Saitama, Honda will test a solar-powered generating and charging system that will be used in combination with advanced communications & telematics.