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Honda Shuts Off Natural Gas Vehicles, Charges Up for More Hybrids and EVs

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A worker assembles a Civic Natural Gas Vehicle at the Greensburg Honda Plant

A worker assembles a Civic Natural Gas Vehicle at the Greensburg Honda Plant

Honda is phasing out its natural gas vehicles, in lieu of developing more hybrids, electric cars and fuel cell vehicles.

A hydrogen-powered Honda FCV should be arriving next year, and the company is also developing a next-generation, two-motor hybrid system for a new Accord Hybrid that’s slated for 2018. There’s also a new battery-electric car, a three-motor hybrid system, and a plug-in hybrid in the works, American Honda Motor Co. executive VP John Mendel said at a recent press conference, according to Auto News.

Honda’s “developing an extensive new generation of electrified vehicles,” said Mendel, in the hopes that the fuel cell vehicle, battery-electric car, and plug-in hybrids “will become a mainstream volume pillar for the Honda brand.”

The Honda FCV Concept, making its North American debut in Detroit on January 13, 2015

The Honda Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept

On the other end of the alternative energy spectrum, Honda has already retired the Accord Plug-in Hybrid from the US market, and will stop selling the Civic Natural Gas and the Civic Hybrid later this year.

So ends Honda’s valiant effort to make natural gas vehicles mainstream, which has been going on since 1998. All told, the Japanese automaker sold about 16,000 natural gas vehicles (mostly to taxi and commercial fleets), but the infrastructure needed to make CNG vehicles catch on just never materialized.

“The infrastructure, while it improved, just wasn’t as convenient as petrol,” Mendel said. “We gave it a pretty long run and we tried and tried and tried.”

Hopefully the automaker’s efforts in the fields of hybrids, EVs, and fuel cell vehicles will prove more fruitful.