A Honda Odyssey Hybrid is being considered by top brass at the Japanese automaker, offering twice as many MPGs as the current crop of family haulers. While there are challenges to building a hybrid minivan, such a vehicle could boast Prius-rivaling fuel economy.
The Toyota Prius V is currently a fan favorite for those seeking a high-MPG minivan-type vehicle, though the Honda Odyssey is among the best-selling minivans in America. While powertrain engineer Takashi Shinichi said such a vehicle isn’t yet under development, it seems like a no brainer to me. But then again, I’m not a vehicle engineer.
Engineers have to worry about problems like the Odyssey’s low-hanging, flat floor, which makes ingress and egress easy but makes hiding a battery bank difficult. For this reason, a plug-in hybrid Honda Odyssey is a non-starter, as you can’t exactly take up space in the minivan’s trunk area either. Families find a way to use every inch of storage space in these vehicles, and Honda knows it. I’m certain this is one of the main reasons no major automaker has given America a hybrid minivan yet.
However, a hybrid Honda minivan could effectively double the Odyssey’s MPG from 22 combined to around 44 combined, and that’s on the U.S. standard. Seem far fetched? Keep in mind that the Toyota Prius V, which was unveiled over three years ago has a combined MPG rating of 42 MPG. Honda has been slowly-but-surely catching up with Toyota in the MPG game, but they haven’t been able to go toe-to-toe with the Prius yet, which is due to get a major redesign soon.
A hybrid minivan could be the winning hand Honda needs to tip the scales in their favor.