American Honda Motor Co. was yesterday recognized by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) as the 2004 Greenest Automaker in the organization's biennial ranking of car manufacturers' environmental performance. It's the third consecutive number one ranking of Honda in the UCS study. Compared with the UCS's 2002 findings, Honda actually increased its lead over other automakers in reducing both greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions across the full range of its product lineup.
According to the UCS, Honda increased its lead by building vehicles that produce less than half the smog-forming pollutants of the industry average and 18 per cent less heat-trapping emissions
"Honda is in a class of its own when it comes to producing clean cars and trucks," said David Friedman, Research Director of UCS's Clean Vehicles Program and lead author of the report.
"This award reflects our commitment to apply the latest technologies for reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency across our complete product line," said Ed Cohen, vice president of government affairs, accepting the award. "It's a commitment that goes to our core objective of being a company that society wants to exist."
The UCS study, titled Automaker Rankings 2004: The Environmental Performance of Car Companies, is the third installment of the only comprehensive ranking of automakers' environmental performance. The report analyzes the six largest automakers in the U.S. market, which together account for nine out of every 10 vehicles sold in this country. The study evaluates data on smog-forming pollution and heat-trapping emissions from each vehicle manufacturer's fleet using model year 2003 sales information and certification standards. The report rates the pollution performance of the average vehicle produced by each company; total sales volume does not influence the results.
Honda has a long history of environmental leadership including the introduction of America's first hybrid, the Honda Insight, and the first vehicles to meet stricter emissions standards, including the first Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV), the 1996 Honda Civic, Ultra-Low Emissions vehicle (ULEV), the 1998 Honda Accord and Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), the 2000 Honda Accord. Fully 60 per cent of the company's 2004 model cars and light trucks, more than any other automaker, meet the U.S. EPA's Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standard, well in advance of regulatory requirements.
On fuel efficiency, Honda vehicles -including two Honda hybrid models (Insight and Civic Hybrid) - captured four of the top five spots in the EPA's 2004 fuel economy rankings. With the introduction of the Accord Hybrid at Honda dealerships nationwide this Friday, Dec. 10, Honda becomes the only automaker to offer U.S. customers three distinct hybrid models and the first company to offer a V6-powered hybrid.
Honda also leads in the development of alternative fuel technologies including hydrogen fuel cells. The company's FCX fuel cell vehicle is the only Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) to earn certification from the EPA and CARB for regular commercial use. Today, there are twelve of these zero emissions vehicles in operation with five different customers in California and New York. Yesterday, the State of New York took delivery of the first of two 2005 FCX fuel cell cars that it will lease from Honda and put into daily fleet use in Albany. The 2005 FCX is unique in that it is powered by Honda's own fuel cell stack (Honda FC Stack) and is the first FCV with the ability to start and operate in below freezing temperatures, along with significant improvements in range, fuel efficiency and performance over earlier models.
In addition, Honda has taken a leadership role in developing the hydrogen refueling infrastructure required to support fuel cell vehicles. Honda is operating a unique experimental solar powered hydrogen fuel station at Honda R&D American in Torrance, CA. This winter in the Northeastern U.S., Honda will begin testing the second generation of its experimental Home Energy Station (HES II) developed in conjunction with partner, Plug Power, Inc. HES II is a home refueling unit that provides hydrogen from natural gas for vehicle refueling, as well as heat for domestic hot water use and electricity for the home.
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