Honda Motor Co. is planning a $340-million investment to build fuel-efficient new turbo-charged, four-cylinder VTEC gasoline engines at its Anna site in Ohio. The carmaker has already added an assembly line at the plant. VTEC engines features valves that vary the flow of air and fuel depending on speed, resulting to better fuel efficiency.
According to Robert Bienenfeld, US senior manager of environmental strategy, remarked at the Detroit auto show that Honda wants to comply with government requirements for cleaner vehicles while boosting fuel economy. Honda is one of the many carmakers that offering alternative green vehicles while the public continues to experience low gasoline prices.
“We need good price signals to continue advancing these technologies,” Bienenfeld said. As of January 12, 2015, average price for a gallon of gas was about $2.12, according to AAA. With fuel price on the decline, carmakers are seeing their SUVs and pickups getting purchased, with SUV sales surging 12 percent in 2014, according to Autodata Corp.
The Japanese maker also plans to introduce its next fuel-cell vehicle in 2016 and offer both a plug-in hybrid and a battery-only electric car by 2018.
Honda showcased at the Detroit Auto Show a fuel-cell prototype, which when compared to the Clarity sedan introduced in 2008, will feature with fuel-cell components that are a third smaller and produce 60 percent more power, according to Stephen Ellis, manager of fuel-cell vehicle marketing for American Honda.
Honda is likewise planning to roll out mainstream applications of the hybrid system recently unveiled in its Acura NSX supercar. Honda’s system has a gasoline engine paired with three electric motors. According to John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda, the pricing on the electric model range will be “very competitive with what’s in the marketplace.”