Well it’s finally happened. Honda is pulling the plug on the Hybrid and compressed natural gas (CNG) Civic models. The arrival of the all-new 2016 Civic will bring an end to both these alternative-fuel options after the end of the year. Honda will also temporarily pull the plug on the plug-in version of its Honda Accord with plans to replace it with a new plug-in vehicle.
Honda’s move to axe the CNG Civic is a bit unexpected given that over the years, Honda’s been one of the few automakers to champion compressed natural gas. It introduced the CNG Civic to the U.S. in 1998, but Honda’s only sold around 16,000 models since then. One big issue is that while CNG may be cheaper fuel, finding a place to fill up isn’t easy. There just aren’t many commercial natural gas stations out there. We have to hand it to Honda though, for sticking with it as long as it did.
Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel says the automaker tried for years to create demand for compressed natural gas vehicles, but is now finally throwing in the towel after deciding the market will not become mainstream anytime soon.
“We gave it a long run, and have tried and tried and tried,” Mendel said. “But, that market outside of taxi cabs, commercial vehicles,…is not experiencing the uptick we expected.”
Despite axing both Civic alternative fuel models, Honda says it will continue to focus on fuel efficiency with new engines and technologies.
“Honda is committed to offering vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy today through a new generation of powertrain technology. We’re developing an entire new generation of electrified vehicles that will continue our leadership tomorrow. And in the process we are creating the strongest and most balanced vehicle lineup in our history,” says Mendel.
That’s a big commitment to make and the new tenth-generation Civic will be one of the first to try and fill the bill. It will be offering two new gas engines. One will be a turbo engine that is projected to get an EPA highway fuel economy that is “a few ticks above 40 miles per gallon.” That’s enough to compete with hybrid vehicles and still carry the price of a gas engine.
For committed hybrid drivers, Honda will still offer the Accord Hybrid both with this generation and the soon to arrive 2016 next-generation. The next-gen model will feature a new two-motor hybrid system. Plus, it’s working on a new plug-in hybrid vehicle that will replace the Accord plug-in.
For drivers who like to be on the cutting edge of alternative technology, Honda will also be bringing new a new hydrogen-fuel-cell model due out next year.
Photo Credit: Honda