Honda Maintains Environmental Leadership Position With 2001 Model Year Offerings

1/2/2001 4:16:00 AM

Recognized as a leader in environmental technology, Honda continues to raise the competitive standard within the industry. Clearly a demonstration of that commitment, about 80 percent of all Hondas sold in model year 2001 will be Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) rated or cleaner.

The Union of Concerned Scientists' 2000 research indicated Honda had the least-polluting vehicle fleet in the automotive industry. The positive progress continues in 2001 with further environmental advancements.

"In order to maintain our leadership role in the environmental arena," said Tom Elliott, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., "Honda will continue to invest both the essential financial resources as well as research and development resources necessary to produce the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicles possible."

While investing in advanced research that will deliver long-range benefits, Honda's strategy is aimed at refining technologies having the greatest immediate impact on the environment.

Already at the forefront in terms of both high mileage and low emissions, the all-new Honda Civic has improved on its previously impressive fuel economy; for example, the EX automatic City EPA is up by 10.7% and Highway EPA is up by 8.6% in 2001. All Civics sold in the U.S. in 2001 will voluntarily meet California's stringent Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standard.

The natural-gas powered Civic GX continues to boast the cleanest internal combustion engine in the world and now achieves SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) status, approximately 80 percent cleaner than the ULEV standard.

Advanced environmental technology is also evident in the restyled 2001 Accord, which meets or exceeds California's LEV standards with all models sold nationwide. An Accord sold in California also will continue to meet the SULEV standard, the most stringent in the world. In early 2000, the Accord was the first car sold meeting the standard.

Honda's list of environmental "firsts" began with the introduction of the CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion) engine in 1975 and is sure to continue beyond the introduction of the 2000 Honda Insight - the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle to be sold in the United States.

The Sierra Club quickly bestowed Insight with its first Environmental Engineering Award (the first in the club's 108-year history). In addition, Automobile Magazine tapped Insight for its Technology of the Year Award in 2000.

Also among Honda's many "firsts" are:

  • 1974: CVCC Civic becomes the first vehicle to meet all emissions requirements without using a catalytic converter while running on regular gasoline
  • 1985: CRX-HF is the first mass-produced 4-cylinder car to break the 50-mpg barrier
  • 1995: Civic becomes the first gasoline-powered vehicle to meet the California LEV standard
  • 1997: EV PLUS is the first electric vehicle with advanced nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries
  • 1997: Honda becomes first auto manufacturer to voluntarily sell LEVs in all 50 states, with both Accord and Civic models
  • 1997: Honda Accord becomes the first vehicle to meet California's ULEV standard
  • 1998: Honda introduces mass-produced, natural-gas powered Civic GX, tested as the world's cleanest
  • 1999: Honda Insight becomes the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle for sale in the U.S.
  • 2000: Accord SULEV is the first available SULEV in California.
  • 2001: MY Honda Civics are 100% ULEV.

Since 1994, Honda has been researching the shared-use vehicle concept with its Intelligent Community Vehicle System (ICVS). Three public demonstrations are currently under way in the United States and Japan.

Although gasoline will be the dominant fuel for the foreseeable future, Honda continues its research in alternative fuel technology with the Civic GX and the EV PLUS, the first four-passenger electric vehicle with advanced NiMH batteries. Honda is also conducting research in the area of fuel cell technology and will introduce a fuel cell vehicle in 2003.

Reducing environmental impact through refined manufacturing processes is also important to Honda. In the United States, Honda's Green Factory program has allowed automobile production to increase since 1985, while total factory emissions have declined. All major Honda plants worldwide meet ISO 14001, an international environmental management standard covering disposal, water treatment and energy use.