Honda’s new plug-in pledge wins us back

acura-our-car-logoeditors-blog-entry3Maybe Honda will keep this loyal customer after all.

Just a few weeks ago, it seemed as if Honda – the maker of our beloved and trusty 1992 Acura Integra which I bought new 18 ½ years ago – was stuck in first gear on plug-in cars.

Thanks to a jump start forced by a rapidly growing movement among the world’s major automakers toward electric cars, the EV laggard just shifted into second gear. At a news conference today (7-20-10), Chief Executive Takanobu Ito said Honda was planning to sell a plug-in hybrid vehicle and a battery-powered electric model in Japan and the United States in 2012.

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That should be soon enough to pull this loyal Honda owner — who, about a month ago, suggested Honda had better put a plug-in on the market soon or risk losing thousands of happy Honda owners to the automakers who will soon be offering plug-ins– back into the Honda fold.

In fact, Honda had little choice but to rev things up on plug ins thanks to what increasingly appears to be a perfect industry storm for electric cars. So many of the big guys – BMW, Ford, GM, Hyundai, Mercedes, Nissan, and even the somewhat-reluctant Toyota — are pulling onto the plug-in express that those who do not do risk being left behind.

Plug-ins for real this time
What a difference a decade makes!

In the late 1990s, only two major carmakers, GM and Toyota, got onto the plug-in express. And, as we know, they ripped the expressway out from under themselves — and consumers — almost immediately, even going so far as to pull back vehicles and crush them.

Honda’s plug-in wake-up moment – forced upon it by the industry-wide rush toward plug-ins — provides the latest evidence that this time plug-ins are for real.

That’s great news. For plug-in fans, for the environment, and for anyone interested in saving money and in future fueling independence – which the home solar + EV synergy can deliver.

It’s also good news for Honda.

Honda has us back
Although, Honda doesn’t know it yet, it just won back a loyal and satisfied Honda owner. I suspect it’s also won back many of the nearly 20 people, who, in a recent SolarChargedDriving.Com poll on Honda and EVs, indicated they would leave the carmaker if it didn’t offer a plug-in soon.

For us, it’s all unfolding quite nicely now. We’re going to start with a pure electric car, hopefully in about 1 ½ years, most likely a Nissan LEAF or a Ford Focus BEV. Next for us will be a plug-in hybrid (for those relatively rare occasions when we need more than 100 miles of range). Somewhere around 2012 or 2013 is exactly the time we will be looking to buy a PHEV. And, thanks to Honda’s announcement, there’s a very good chance that that PHEV will be a Honda – assuming, of course, the Japanese company stays true to its word and delivers one by 2012.

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