16 May 2007 - 11:50
  • News Code: 104804

Fuel cells are a long way from being economic and some pundits are saying they are still 20 years away.

Honda will strengthen its green credentials with the introduction of a further hybrid model into the UK within the next two years, in addition to a small number of the FCX fuel cell models.

Honda UK managing director Ken Keir says that Honda sees hybrid as the short term answer while continuing to work on fuel cells in the long term.

He says, “We will have a more financially-accessible hybrid available by 2009. We have no idea of the size of the hybrid market but we know that we cannot meet demand.“

About 200,000 hybrids a year will be built in Japan from 2009 with half going to North America. About this time the Honda FCX fuel cell car will become available in the UK.

“It is something we will have on offer but there will obviously be infrastructure problems in getting hold of hydrogen for the fuel cells. This is an issue that will have to be addressed as we move into the future.

“Fuel cells are a long way from being economic and some pundits are saying they are still 20 years away. With the FCX, Honda will offer it from 2008 but the issue is how you create hydrogen. It could be possible to generate it in your own home using solar panels,’’ he says.

Hybrid models will not be part of the BMW range for the foreseeable future, the company has revealed.

Instead it will focus on what it calls EfficientDynamics, which is a package of technologies and energy management systems designed to improve the effectiveness of the vehicle. The company says that this will spread through BMW’s model range as it is renewed.

BMW UK managing director Jim O’Donnell, says, “Design improvements to the latest 5 Series models have been combined with EfficientDynamics to provide tangible performance benefits.

“Increases of up to 25 per cent in fuel economy and emissions will save drivers hundreds if not thousands of pounds a year.

“We believe customers prefer the driving experience of an ultra-efficient internal combustion engine rather than a hybrid car, with all the associated weight of the battery and motors.

“Compare the new 535d with a Lexus GS450h. The BMW offers a better driving experience thanks partly to its 200kg weight advantage, lower emissions and superior fuel efficiency. And it is all for almost £5,000 less.“

EfficientDynamics includes Stop & Go which cuts the engine when stationary or at traffic lights to conserve fuel.



News Code 104804

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