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Honda hybrids, electrics by 2012

autos Updated: Jul 20, 2010 22:43 IST

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Honda said on Tuesday that it will roll out an electric car and a plug-in hybrid in Japan and the US in 2012 as it seeks to catch up in the race to make battery-powered cars.

Japan's number-two carmaker plans to launch the compact electric car as well as mid and large-sized plug-in hybrids that will run up to 60 km on a litre of petrol, president and CEO Takanobu Ito said.

"The next 10 years will be very critical for Honda to survive in the midst of major changes, at a time of increased environmental awareness and changes in the global economic structure," Ito said.

The plug-in has been a pet project of Ito, who headed Honda's research and development section before taking over the company in June last year.

The strategy is a turnaround from the 2007 president Takeo Fukui's take that plug-in hybrids offered too few environmental benefits to be worth pursuing. "Fukui did not like batteries, but I am different," Ito said.