Honda has decided to test everything necessary for our electric transportation future in Torrence, California and Saitama Prefecture on the Japanese island of Honshū. Honda will be testing not only electric cars but plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric scooters, electric carts and solar power stations.
Honda will be conducting its Electric Vehicle Testing Program in the Saitama Prefecture cities of Saitama, Kumagaya and Chichibu as well as Torrence, California and if negotiations work out in China. The idea is to conduct the program in real-world urban transportation environments.
The program will study the following:
The practicality and convenience of electromotive technology featured on next-generation personal mobility products, including Honda’s EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the EV-neo electric scooter and the Monpal ML200 4-wheel electric cart.
The effectiveness of solar power generation and other renewable energy sources in helping to realize a low-carbon mobility society.
The effectiveness of advanced communications & telematics to enhance customer convenience and product usability.
Torrence along with Stanford University and Google Inc, in the US will primarily be testing the FIT EV. Torrence will also receive a hybrid vehicle sometime in 2012. In addition to the EVs and hybrid cars, Saitama Prefecture will be receiving electric scooters, and electric carts.
"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, American Honda Motor Co, Inc., President and CEO. "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.
Honda has interests in solar energy, cogeneration systems and other energy-generating products. The company is studying the impact of electric vehicles in cities in hopes of developing a “Total Energy Management” system. The system would supply “households and communities with energy for personal use, while supporting a comfortable, low-carbon lifestyle.”
The company will be researching specific aspects of “electric motive technology” in each of the Japanese cities in Saitama Prefecture.
Urban transportation testing featuring Honda’s EVs, plug-in hybrid vehicles and EV-neo, by partnering with public transportation facilities such as train stations.
Study the low noise impact of electric vehicles in residential neighborhoods.
Using Kumagaya’s suburban metropolitan environment, study the practicality of applying Honda’s EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles to a park-and-ride system centered around Kagohara Station.
Working alongside Chichibu’s city enhancement plan through local citizen cooperation, conduct studies to increase use of electromotive mobility opportunities and its convenience by renting out Monpal to citizens and tourists.
By the time the study ends, Honda will have a comprehensive view of how hybrids and EVs of all types will impact society,;the best way to use these new modes of transportation; the best technology for managing EV charging; and the most effective way to reduce the carbon footprint of EVs.
EVs and hybrids, although they greatly reduce or eliminate the need for fossil fuels still generate CO2 from the need for electricity. Most electricity is provided by coal or fossil fuel powered plants. Honda’s research into the best way to reduce the CO2 during charging.
The study will provide an even broader set of answers if Honda is able to work out a deal with the Chinese to conduct the Electric Vehicle Testing Program in parts of China. By conducting the study in such different areas with different driving patterns, laws and terrain, the company will have carried out one of the most extensive EV testing programs ever conducted.
The results will be interesting to see. Hopefully we can all benefit from the findings and move smoothly into the new electric vehicle era.
Photographs provided by Honda Worldwide.