By Drew Johnson
Monday, Feb 18th, 2008 @ 4:04 pm
 
Honda has announced that it will unveil a concept version of its upcoming hybrid-only model at the Paris Motor Show in September. As with the automaker's Pilot concept, Honda says the show car will give a clear indication of what the production model will look like.

The yet-to-be-named hybrid-only model is slated to hit the European market in the spring of 2009, with North American sales follow soon after.

The new model will be crucial in Honda's quest to sell 10% of its vehicles with hybrid powertrains by 2010. Honda plans on the new model to generate a wider acceptance of hybrid vehicles -- especially in Europe -- due to its low price on entry and high efficiency. When the new model launches in Europe, it will have an estimated sticker price between €16,000 and €20,000 -- compared to the Toyota Prius' list price of €24,000.

Honda is also targeting CO2 emissions of under 100g/km. In comparison, the Honda Civic Hybrid emits 109g/km and the Toyota Prius produces 106g/km.

But unlike the Prius, the new Honda model will use and updated version of Honda's Intelligent Motor Assist system that cannot power the car with its electric motor alone.

But despite the promises of the new hybrid model, Honda will face an uphill battle in marketing the car worldwide. Last year, Honda sold 10,515 Civic Hybrids in Europe, compared to 149,567 gasoline and diesel versions. The best selling hybrid in Europe -- the Prius -- managed to sell 31,963 examples. Honda plans to sell 50,000 of the car's 200,000 annual production in Europe, with about 100,000 sales planned for the U.S.