Acura hybrid cars will
be rolling out in the near future.
Maybe. That is the word
from Honda, which forecasts its Acura RL (or TL) will
be the first luxury car hybridized from its lineup.
Performance will apparently
be the first priority for the Acura hybrid cars with fuel
economy concerns pulling up a close second.
Wards Auto quotes Tom Elliott, executive vice president-American
Honda, saying, "If we are to do a hybrid for Acura, and
we will in the future - not in the short-term plan - but if
we look further down the road, it'll be more the performance-oriented
version, probably with an improvement in fuel economy as well,
but the primary focus will be on performance. Perhaps it will
have all-wheel-drive capability if it didn't already have that.
The new Acura hybrid car will most likely we an all-wheel
drive vehicle with several new features as well. Several online
message boards have quoted Autoweek as saying the new Acura
hybrid car will arrive as the next RL sport-luxury sedan. The
car's 200-hp 3.0-liter V6 driving the front wheels gets a torquey
160-hp boost from an electric motor driving the rear wheels.
Regenerative braking recharges the battery powering the electric
motor. Other reports state that the RL hybrid will have a 300-hp
gasoline engine powering the front wheels and a 100-hp electric
motor powering the back wheels. Remember to take it with a grain
of salt what comes off the message boards, though.
If Honda does decide to roll out the Acura RL hybrid as its
first luxury hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) it would make sense.
The 2005 Acura RL has received Car & Driver's coveted 10-Best
award for the luxury vehicle sedan class and it would be likely
that Honda would use this popularity to springboard their new
line of luxury hybrid vehicles. Toyota has already beat Honda
to market, introducing the Lexus 450h GS Hybrid as first luxury
hybrid sedan in the world for commercial use. Honda, however,
has already introduced three non-luxury model hybrid cars to
market, the Civic,
models, so it is clear that they already have a technological
framework from which to start.
Hopefully, Honda will get in gear, and give Toyota some competition in the luxury hybrid car market. The Acura might just be accurate for the task.