Special Coverage

Tokyo
Auto Show

TOKYO – Honda Motor Co. Ltd. will emphasize advanced powertrains as it unveils three new concepts centered on alternative power at this month’s Tokyo Motor Show.

In revealing its auto show lineup, Honda says it wants to be the industry’s leader in promoting technologies that contribute to improving fuel economy, including biofuels, hybrids, fuel cells and solar cells.

Representing Honda’s vision of the future, the mini-Puyo could be characterized as a crystal ball on wheels.

Nine feet (2.7 m) long, the tiny bubble car can seat four. Its soft silicon body is designed to help prevent serious pedestrian injury in the event of an accident. Its see-through roof and all-around window panels offer a 360-degree panoramic view to all occupants.

The Puyo gets a smaller version of Honda’s ‘V-flow’ fuel cell that powers the FCX Concept, the future fuel-cell sedan also set for the Tokyo show and due out in 2008, plus independent motors at all four wheels.

Honda has no plans to produce the Puyo. “It’s our 20-year vision,” says one engineer.

There also is no timetable for launching the CR-Z, a concept hybrid sports car that looks fairly far along the development curve.

Motoaki Minowa, the car’s chief designer, says the CR-Z is futuristic, dynamic and lightweight.

“We still don’t know whether consumers want a hybrid sports car, but we hope to get some sense of their wishes at the show,” he says.

Still just a mockup, the model is designed to be fitted with Honda’s integrated motor assist system that improves gas mileage while boosting torque.

Equipped with 19-in. wheels fitted perfectly into its sleek exterior design, the CR-Z features a large front grill and closely positioned rear combo lamps. The interior boasts a new-look sports cockpit with an instrument panel aimed at driving enthusiasts.

Will hybrid sports cars replace traditional sports cars?

“Not completely,” says Minowa. “Our objective, however, isn’t to change the essence of a sports car, just to offer a new powertrain option.”