This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 28, 2008

Honda to Launch Three New Hybrids and Lease Fuel Cell Vehicles

Honda Motor Company, Ltd. announced on May 20 that it has three hybrid vehicles in the works, including a new small hybrid scheduled for introduction in early 2009. Since Honda discontinued its two-seat Insight hybrid in 2006, the company has been known to be planning a new hybrid vehicle, but until now the details have been scarce. According to Honda, the new vehicle will be the most affordable hybrid to date and will be offered as a 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback with a design similar to the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. Honda expects to sell 200,000 of the vehicles each year, with half of those sales in the United States. Honda is also planning to introduce a hybrid version of its Fit, as well as another unique small hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z sports car concept that it introduced at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. See the Honda press release, Honda's gallery of FCX Clarity photos, the Honda Fit Web page, and the article from this newsletter on the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

Honda also announced details about its plans to lease the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicles to customers in the United States. The company has begun the process of selecting customers from the more than 50,000 people who expressed interest on Honda's Web site, and the company will announce its first customers when the vehicles start rolling off the production line in mid-June. Honda plans to lease several dozen FCX Clarity vehicles each year in the United States and Japan. The U.S. program will be targeted on Southern California, with 3-year leases offered for $600 per month. The company expects to be leasing about 200 of the vehicles in the two countries within 3 years. See the Honda press release.