There might be little of environmental merit in Formula One racing. But when Honda pulled out of the race last year, where did its engineers go? To hybrid development, apparently.
The company’s new chief executive Takanobu Ito, who started last week, was all about hybrids in his first public appearance today. “I think everyone is going to go the way of hybrids,” he said, adding that Honda would speed up the development of a new hybrid system with two electric motors for medium to large vehicles.
Virtually all engineers that had been part of Honda’s Formula One team
are now working on hybrid development, he said.
Car companies do, after all, tend to justify their Formula One investments by saying it is useful to mainstream vehicle development.
Honda is upping the ante against its larger rival Toyota, which trail-blazed much of the mass market for hybrids with its Prius. Honda has sold more of its low-cost hybrid model, the Insight, than expected since it went on sale in February.
New Honda CEO wants to accelerate hybrids (Reuters, 13/07/09)