Honda has always been at the forefront of the eco-technological wave, being one of the first to the market with a mass-produced hybrid vehicle with the original Insight hatch and then breaking new ground once again with the hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity. Despite this penchant for innovation, the carmaker doesn’t have plans for a new-generation of plug-in hybrid vehicles because of inadequate battery technology.

"For battery-powered vehicles to become more widespread, more popular in the market, we feel battery technology needs to advance further," Honda research boss Masaaki Kato revealed to Bloomberg during a recent interview. "We just don't see it providing the type of driving performance you get with a gasoline-powered vehicle."

Kato explained that consumers have high-expectations for plug-in hybrids and that the major technology behind them – lithium-ion batteries – does not offer the reliability, range or cost that people will seek. “We just don't see them [plug-in hybrids] providing the type of driving performance you get with a gasoline-powered vehicle,'' Kato said.

Most major carmakers are working on developing new plug-in hybrid vehicles, with Toyota and General Motors the most vocal about their plans. GM revealed the production version of its model today, the new Chevrolet Volt, and has promised to deliver the car to consumers by the end of 2010. Toyota is also working on its own plug-in and also plans to launch it by the end of the decade.

Honda has instead decided to focus on more conventional hybrid models, and is already working on a number of cars including a new Insight (revealed in concept form above), the sporty CR-Z and a new Civic Hybrid.