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September 30, 2009

TOKYO PREVIEW: Honda to show near-production CR-Z hybrid sportscar

Honda's CR-Z hybrid, on sale in 2010, will be the world's first sports hybrid car and the first petrol-electric vehicle to employ a six-speed transmission, according to the company. A near-production version called CR-Z Concept 2009 will be unveiled at the Tokyo show next month.

Honda’s CR-Z hybrid, on sale in 2010, will be the world’s first sports hybrid car and the first petrol-electric vehicle to employ a six-speed transmission, according to the company. A near-production version called CR-Z Concept 2009 will be unveiled at the Tokyo show next month.

Alongside the CR-Z will be the EV-N, a small, four seat battery electric vehicle, inspired by the N360, the twin cylinder, air cooled 360cc micro car launched with a plastic boot (trunk) lid in the 1960s. The noughties revival has solar panels in the roof, which could be used to charge the battery. Honda said the EV-N is “purely a design study and there are no plans for production”.

The show will see the debut of the Skydeck concept, a six seat hybrid MPV/minivan, similar to the Ford S-Max. Honda said this design study “is a great example of how IMA (hybrid)technology can be placed in a range of different cars for different needs.

“To give the Skydeck the practicality of a conventional MPV, many of the hybrid system components – including the high power battery – are housed in the car’s centre tunnel (rather than behind the rear seats or under the floor, as with previous production hybrids). This allows for greater cabin space, and the room for three rows of two seats. It also gives a lower centre of gravity.”

Other models planned for display include the Swindon, UK-built Civic Type R Euro. Sales of the three-door ‘hot hatch’ start in Japan in November.

Elsewhere, a special display zone named HELLO! (Honda Electric mobility Loop ) will feature electric products, including those that supply electricity, vehicles that run on electricity and products with innovative electronic technologies. As well as the EV-N, this area will display the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle that runs on the electricity it produces from hydrogen; a new EV-Cub electric motorcycle; the new U3-X, a one wheel personal mobility device that uses balance control technology developed through the ASIMO robot project; and Loop , a portable communication tool that allows people and mobility devices to communicate with each other.

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