US: Honda abandons natural gas model in favor of new fuel cell vehicle
The third largest Japanese automaker is going to end the production of the US-bound natural gas Civic variant, according to the US sales chief of the American Honda unit, as the carmaker gets ready to deliver a new hydrogen fuel cell model next year.
John Mendel talked to media representatives in Detroit and announced the company has not sold too many natural gas-fueled Civic compact cars since 1998 – around 16,000 units of the limited series model were delivered in a confined area of the country. He added the main reason to axe the model was the falling gasoline price in relation to natural gas in recent months. The executive also added the Accord plug-in hybrid model would cease production, though this one would get a due replacement in the form of another plug-in hybrid vehicle by 2018. On the other hand, the new fuel cell would be a dedicated introduction – much like Toyota’s Mirai – though the executive didn’t disclose the model’s name. Honda has already showed a concept of the hydrogen fueled model back in January during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The top executive added Honda was refocusing towards greener models, including plug in hybrids and electrics – scheduling for deployment before 2018 a new – yet unnamed plug-in hybrid model – and a full electric battery-powered model. Honda is also ready to cease production of the current Civic hybrid version as the compact car’s new model year starts with the main gasoline version later on this year, during the fall.