- Title: JAPAN: Honda and Toyota unveil concept cars for the future
- Date: 8th October 2009
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (RECENT) (REUTERS) HONDA SKYDECK CONCEPT CAR OPENING DOORS SKYDECK SIDE DOORS OPENING SKYDECK INTERIOR MIDDLE SEATS FOLDING IN UNDER FRONT SEATS ELECTRONIC DASHBOARD DISPLAY BACK SEATS IN SKYDECK FOLDING UNDER FRONT (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HONDA STYLING DESIGN DEVELOPMENT STAFF, SHINYA UCHIYAMA, SAYING: "We've removed the battery currently placed under the trunk of the Insight and replaced it in the center of the car freeing up the rear space. We've also improved the car performance and balance by placing the heavy battery in the middle." CR-Z SITTING UNDER SHOWROOM LIGHT CR-Z HONDA CONCEPT CAR BACK OF CR-Z LIGHT ON FRONT OF EV-N CONCEPT CAR THAT SIGNALS PERSON TO CROSS ELECTRONIC DISPLAY IN EV-N INDICATING THAT SOMEONE WANTS TO CROSS THE ROAD SOLAR PANEL ON TOP OF EV-N EV CUB HONDA CONCEPT ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE WHEELS OF EV CUB LICENSE PLATE THAT READS "EV CUB" EV CUB TOYOTA DESIGN BUILDING SIGN THAT READS TOYOTA DESIGN PERSON GETTING INTO FT-EVII TOYOTA CONCEPT CAR PERSON DEMONSTRATING FT-EVII CONTROLS JOYSTICKS BEING USED TO DRIVE CAR PERSON DEMONSTRATING JOYSTICK CONTROLS FT-EVII ON DISPLAY (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TOYOTA'S CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS GROUP MANAGER, HIDEAKI HOMMA, SAYING: "This concept car has no steering wheel, acceleration and brake pedals. Anyone can drive this car by using a joystick." TOYOTA PRIUS PLUG-IN HYBRID PRIUS DRIVING DOWN ROAD PERSON PLUGGING PRIUS INTO CHARGING STATION CHARGER CORD BEING PUT INTO PRIUS TOYOTA PRIUS PLUGGED INTO CHARGING STATION INTERIOR OF TOYOTA PRIUS ELECTRONIC DISPLAY SHOWING BATTERY STATUS OF PRIUS TOYOTA PRIUS DRIVING IN FRONT OF TOYOTA DESIGN CENTER
- Embargoed: 23rd October 2009 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Transport
- Reuters ID: LVACRCCIY4QJMWKEBVQD070T893I
- Story Text: Japanese car manufacturers Honda and Toyota unveil its eco-friendly concept cars ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show on October 21.
Japanese carmakers Honda and Toyota Motor Corp have unveiled their new lineup of future eco-friendly concept cars ahead of Tokyo Motor Show, which will be held in Tokyo later this month.
Amid the devastating global slump in demand for cars, fuel-sipping hybrid cars have become a bright spot for the industry with Honda and Toyota seeing robust demand for their latest models.
The Honda SkyDeck, a six-seater hybrid model, is one of Honda's latest concept cars using its hybrid technology.
Honda says the SkyDeck is based on the Honda Insight, which went on sale earlier this year as the company's first attempt to challenge Toyota's dominance in the gasoline-electric hybrid segment.
"We've removed the battery currently placed under the trunk of the Insight and replaced it in the center of the car freeing up the rear space. We've also improved the car performance and balance by placing the heavy battery in the middle," Shinya Uchiyama, Honda's Styling Design Development Division staff, told Reuters.
Along its SkyDeck, Honda also unveiled its hybrid CR-Z sports car.
Although it is still officially a concept, sources say that the car is 95 percent production-ready as it nears its on sale date of summer 2010.
This latest version has not altered much from the futuristic design of the original CR-Z concept shown for the first time at the 2007 Tokyo show.
The CR-Z will be the first hybrid sports car to enter production.
The power output of the car is yet to be announced, but it is expected to be higher-powered than the Insight.
Honda also showed-off its new electric car concept called the EV-N which comes with a solar panel attached on the roof.
Honda's signature "Cub" series, which is extremely popular especially amongst Asian countries, also got an eco-friendly makeover, but the company did not mention the possibility of EV-Cub becoming an actual product.
Japan's No.2 automaker is looking into developing pure electric vehicles because slow progress in setting up hydrogen fuelling stations could limit the sale of its fuel-cell vehicles, the head of Honda said earlier this month.
Honda has been a strong proponent of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles as the most promising zero-emission alternative to today's combustion engine cars, dismissing plug-in electric cars as a short-range option that uses too many expensive batteries.
But in the strongest indication yet that Honda may be changing its tune, Chief Executive Takanobu Ito said earlier this month that Honda may need pure electric cars to meet California's regulations for automakers to offer a certain ratio of zero-emission cars in the coming years.
Meanwhile, Toyota also showed-off its future cars with eco-friendly concepts.
Toyota's EV-II, a compact electric vehicle designed for short distances, is smaller than ultra-compact "iQ," which Toyota says is the world's smallest four-seater car at less than 3 metres (9 ft 10 in) long.
Though it is still officially a concept, Toyota says its future car comes with the latest technology.
"This concept car has no steering wheel, acceleration and brake pedals. Anyone can drive this car by using a joystick," Hideaki Homma, Toyota's Corporate Communications Group Manager, told Reuters.
EV-II is capable of running with top-speed of over 100 kilometres an hour and is able to cover over 90 kilometres on fully charged battery.
Homma said Toyota is planning to introduce a new EV by 2012.
Toyota also took the Prius Plug-in Hybrid concept car for a test run ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show.
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid, based on the third-generation Prius model, runs on lithium-ion batteries, which takes about 1.5 hours to 3 hours to charge.
Toyota says the new hybrid concept car has better overall fuel efficiency than conventional gasoline-electric hybrid by increasing use of electricity and lowering consumption of fossil fuels.
Top automakers including Honda and Toyota will be showcasing all their concept cars at the Tokyo Motor Show, which will be held in Tokyo on October 21.
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