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12 Nov 2007 | International News :

Honda was one of the first carmakers to launch a hybrid vehicle with its original Insight compact but quickly lost public interest when Toyota's much more practical Prius hit the market. Now Honda hopes to claim back the lead in fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles with the launch of a dedicated hybrid as well as a fuel-cell vehicle and hybrid sports car.

The dedicated hybrid will be a global model and is predicated to reach 200,000 sales annually. The car will go on sale in 2009 and there will be no petrol-only variant, revealed Honda exec Takanobu Ito during a recent interview with Automotive News.

Its styling will be derived from the wedge-shaped FCX concept car (pictured) and it will be able to seat up to five people.

Ito wasn't willing to reveal whether the car will be using new lithium ion batteries or if it will rely on older and heavier nickel-metal hydride technology. He did, however, mention that engineers were struggling to reduce the weight of the batteries. He also said the car would be priced less than the Honda Civic Hybrid but would be a target for the Toyota Prius.

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