TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. will debut three concept cars at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show that foreshadow the Japanese automaker's vision for a battery-powered future: a plug-in hybrid touring sedan, an electric small city car and a sporty, open-cockpit electric vehicle.
The concepts presage cars that could come to market about two generations from now -- say, in 2020.
A key feature of the cars is a pair of steering handles that are pulled backward and forward to direct the car instead of a wheel. Honda says that the technology is intuitive and much like steering a bicycle. When you want to turn left, you move the right handle forward. When you want to move right, you do the opposite.
The first concept, the AC-X, gets its name from Advanced Cruiser Experience. It is a wedge-shaped plug-in hybrid sedan that takes heavy styling cues from the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle.
To improve aerodynamics, it has an adjustable rear diffuser and body undercover that extend during highway driving to improve mileage. Formula One-inspired wheel covers also help.