Honda has long been considered a leader in hybrid technology. But the Japanese automaker has avoided the temptation to outfit their larger vehicles with its hybrid power-train, unlike competing automakers such as Toyota. Pragmatic Honda engineers have felt that building a hybrid Ridgeline, Pilot, or even CR-V, would simply not yield the improved mileage to justify the additional cost.
Honda’s strategy of reserving its hybrid technology for use in smaller cars appears to be changing, as the all-new upcoming Odyssey minivan may include the availability of a hybrid system.
After considerable research in hybrid technology specifically for larger vehicles, sources inside Honda suggest that the Odyssey will be the first application. Other Honda cars are powered by a single electric motor, which limits the amount of weight it could adequately move. The hybrid system found on the Toyota Prius, for example, features two motors, which also enables the same system to be adapted for the heavier Highlander SUV. By adopting a similar approach, Honda may have a suitable system to power future Odyssey or Pilot models.
Whether we see a hybrid option when the new Odyssey when it reaches showrooms is currently not known. But according to Tomohiko Kawanabe, chief operating officer of automobile research and development at Honda, the system has definitely reached the development stage and should be coming down the pipeline soon.
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