Honda Packs All Sorts of Announcements Into NAIAS 2015

Photo: Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times

Photos: Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times

If news were fireworks, Honda would be the person lighting everything at once at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.

On Monday we showed you the NSX super car that will serve as beacon for future vehicle development. Yesterday, Honda took this a step further by showing their newest hydrogen-powered car, the FCV concept.

What makes this iteration interesting is that its engine is a lot smaller (33 percent) while also being more powerful (60 percent; WOW). That small size means that it can be packed into any type of model (CR-V, Fit, Accord, hot air balloon, anything).

HondaFCVconceptEngine

It also means that passengers will have massive amounts of legroom. With a 300-mile driving range between fill-ups and a fill-up time of three minutes flat, the hydrogen car is looking quite mass-marketable.

Also, this is the final concept; the FCV will arrive as a production model for sale in 2016.

Next up is Honda’s announcement that it will finally hop on the bandwagon and begin producing turbocharged engines, probably in the Civic at first. Honda has resisted turbos for a long time. The turbocharger’s ability, however, to maintain performance while increasing efficiency will be necessary for Honda to meet escalating fuel efficiency benchmarks from the government.

At this point, Honda’s research and development starts to get out of control. They promised plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2018. They mouthed the word, “Tesla,” while promising an all-electric vehicle also in 2018. They showed off a new jet plane. Assistants zoomed around on UNI-CUB personal mobility scooters.

And when things almost started to look too real, Honda started talking about robots that see into the future. In Europe this year, on the Executive-trim level of the 2016 CR-V, Honda will debut predictive braking, a system that can see collisions from five seconds out and begin braking to give you a heads-up.

A bunch of cameras and radar will watch cars around with unblinking fascination. If the algorithm decides a collision is coming, the CR-V will lightly brake, murmur something about a crash, display a warning, and then lay onto the brakes for real. We’re getting into “Minority Report” pre-cog levels of science here.

It only works in the U.K. for now, presumably because we have NASCAR, but it’s a sign of things to come.

That concludes our coverage, probably, of NAIAS this year. Be sure to check future posts to stay up-to-date.

Honda Packs All Sorts of Announcements Into NAIAS 2015 was last modified: January 14th, 2015 by Leith Honda

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