TOKYO - Honda plans to have a car powered by its hybrid 'integrated motor assist' engine on the market by September 1999, according to Honda Motor Co. President Hiroyuki Yoshino.
Compared to the hybrid car, which twins a small internal-combustion engine with electric motor and a battery pack, other alternative powerplants are still quite a bit down the road, he said.
'We hope to introduce the zero-emissions vehicle within three or four years,' Yoshino said at a briefing for reporters in Tokyo.
The first fuel-cell-powered cars will go on the market 'around 2003 or 2004,' Yoshino predicted. 'But we don't yet know the cost, or how reliable the system will be, or how durable.'
In other news, Honda will re-enter Formula 1 racing 'hopefully next year, but most probably in 2000,' Yoshino said.
Besides supplying engines, Honda plans to build its own Formula 1 chassis. Two prototypes for testing will be completed in a month or so, Yoshino said.
He also said that if Honda uses all the capacity available at its second plant in Britain, which is under construction, the company might then build another plant on the Con-tinent.
He said the automaker will invest ¥450 million, or about $765.1 million at current exchange rates, in Europe during the next four years.