Honda fought against the electric vehicle movement for a number of years, but has recently admitted that EVs have market potential and announced plans to build such a vehicle by 2012. Next year however, the Japanese manufacturer is launching a demonstration program with Torrance, California, Google, and Stanford University to gain experience with the new vehicles.
The electric vehicles set for testing are Fit EVs like the one shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year, with one set to head for each of the three program sites. Once they take delivery of the vehicle, Torrance, Google, and Stanford will test the vehicles for general issues such as charging infrastructure as well as specific issues related to electric vehicles.
“The goal of the Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program is to more fully understand the challenges and opportunities associated with such a fundamental shift in technology,” said Tetsuo Iwamura, president and CEO of American Honda Motor, in a prepared statement. “The city of Torrance and the other participants will play a key role, by providing real-world feedback on their experience. They will help us tackle the important issues surrounding customer adoption of electric vehicles.”
In addition to receiving a Fit EV for testing, the city of Torrance will receive one of Honda’s plug-in hybrids in 2012. The plug-in hybrid, like the Fit EV for testing, will be a version of the car revealed L.A. this year. It includes a two-motor setup rather than a single, sandwiched motor as in Honda’s IMA system to allow for pure electric motoring as well as use in mid-size and larger vehicles. For testing, the system will be fitted to an Accord sedan.
Torrance, Stanford, and Google will take delivery of the EVs for testing early next year and Torrance will take delivery of the Accord hybrid in 2012. Look for both the Fit EV and plug-in hybrid to hit U.S. dealerships in 2012.