Automaker Develops New Gasoline-Electric Engine

Article excerpt

TAKANEZAWA, Japan (AP) -- Honda has developed a gasoline- electric hybrid engine that is lighter, simpler to produce and uses slightly less gasoline than a model Toyota plans to start selling this year.

Hybrids are seen as a way to improve on the efficiency of gas engines, but without the frequent battery recharges needed by electric cars.

Toyota has said it will mass produce hybrid passenger cars for sale in Japan later this year, with hopes of selling 1,000 a year. Honda did not say when a car with its new system will be sold and Hiroyuki Yoshino, Honda's executive vice president in charge of research, said it may take more than a year. Although all the major automakers are working on some type of hybrid, no automaker has mass produced them for the market so far. Honda's system will get more than 70 miles a gallon, Honda said, better than the 66 miles a gallon for the Toyota hybrid. Honda did not give projected tailpipe emission levels for its new hybrid. Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system, or IMA, is not a conventional hybrid because the gasoline engine runs as long as the car is running. …