acura-front1editors-blog-entry3Dear Honda,
Word is out
that, at best, your support of electric cars is lukewarm and, at worst, that you’re just plain opposed to them.

“We are definitely conducting research on electric cars, but I can’t say I can wholeheartedly recommend them,” Honda’s president of research and development Tomohiko Kawanabe said recently. “It’s questionable whether consumers will accept the annoyances of limited driving range and having to spend time charging them.”

Your foot-dragging on EVs is a shame.

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Although electric cars have some significant limitations – range and charging time the biggest (both of which promise to be overcome) – they have plenty of advantages. These include environmental benefits – for example, the potential for completely air-pollution free driving with the home-solar system + EV combination — and personal and economic benefits – for instance, the potential for total fueling independence.

You seem to believe that not enough people are interested in electric cars.

You’re wrong.

You’re going to lose market share and loyal customers if you ignore electric cars while investing all of your efforts in the elusive, expensive, questionable, and, in comparison to electric vehicles, un-democratic technology of hydrogen.

Take me for instance.

I love my Acura Integra
I absolutely love my 1992 Acura Integra. I bought it new, off the lot in the spring of 1992. I’ve driven it 150,000 miles so far, and I’m betting it could easily go another 100,000 miles.

I absolutely love my 1992 Acura Integra. I bought it new, off the lot in the spring of 1992. I’ve driven it 150,000 miles so far, and I’m betting it could easily go another 100,000 miles.

Hell, I haven’t even had to replace the clutch on my trusty blue Integra and it’s even survived my transition in life from bachelorhood to a family man with two kids. That’s right, it’s a bit tight, but we have no problem getting two car seats and two kids (ages 3 and 5) into the back of the Integra.

accord1My Integra’s still got plenty of pep too. It still looks good (thanks to me babying it for 18 years) and it gets decent fuel economy, something between 25 and 35 miles per gallon, depending on the type of driving we do.

I’m not the only one extremely happy with my Honda (for those who don’t know, Acura is the luxury division of Honda). Honda was rated No. 1 in customer satisfaction in a recent Consumer Reports survey with Ford and Nissan a comparatively distant second and third, respectively.

I would buy another Honda in a heartbeat.

However, Honda you’re not offering what I want. I want a pure EV, and, eventually, a plug-in electric vehicle (PHEV) to complement it.

Yes, I’m a comparatively powerless single consumer. But I’m betting there are tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands people like me. We currently own Hondas and we love them, but we want a truly green, practical alternative to Big Oil driving, and we don’t want to wait forever.

Honda, you are clearly determined to put all your eggs in the hydrogen basket. That’s your choice. But don’t expect me, a long-time Honda fan — until now — to like it.

Also, a lot of us don’t want to see Big Oil replaced by Big Hydrogen – a scenario that you, Honda, appear to be intent on pushing us toward.

Yes, hydrogen is emissions-free — at the tailpipe. However hydrogen, just like electricity, is only as clean as the fuel used to produce it. And right now, that’s likely to be coal, oil and/or natural gas. Not renewable energy forms.

Yes, we know you unveiled a solar-powered hydrogen station within the last year. But it is more efficient and, for now, less expensive to directly solar-charge an EV with solar electricity than to use that solar energy to first produce electricity which is then tapped to create hydrogen.

Solar-produced hydrogen not enough
And, frankly, a solar-hydrogen fueling station that adds just 0.5 kilograms of hydrogen to a car, or enough to power that car for 30 miles, and which would require that the rest of the hydrogen in the tank come from Big Hydrogen is both inefficient, and, to me, extremely politically unattractive. Not to mention the fact that individual consumers have no control over the price of hydrogen – in contrast to electricity, which one can generate on one’s own and/or which one can choose to feed into a car during low-use, and therefore, cheaper electric rate times.

Finally, we all know hydrogen cars are at least five, and quite possibly, 10 years from mass production.

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Electric cars are here now – and there’s a good chance that their battery technology will improve radically in the same five-to-10-year time frame it takes just to get hydrogen cars off the ground.

Honda, you are clearly determined to put all your eggs in the hydrogen basket.

That’s your choice. But don’t expect me, a long-time Honda fan — until now — to like it.

Your decision to ignore electric car technology means that after 18 years we will soon be parting ways.

It didn’t have to be this way. But you’ve left me – and the countless loyal Honda owners who want an electric car – with no choice.

We’ve got to go elsewhere to get want we want – and we will!

Goodbye Honda – perhaps forever!

Sincerely,
Christof Demont-Heinrich
A current-happy-and-longtime-but-not-future-Honda owner

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