The crowds gather admiringly around a souped-up version of Volkswagen


Honda Motor Co has unveiled an electric battery-powered personal transporter, a unicycle shaped like the number eight that riders steer by leaning in the direction they want to travel.

The "U3-X," which Honda will show at the Tokyo Motor Show next month, is the latest to join a growing number of futuristic transportation devices, such as the much bigger Segway.

The combination of electric motors and diesel engines has worked well in locomotives and heavy trucks for years, but carmakers haven't been successful in getting beyond the concept car stage for light duty vehicles. Five years after I started writing about the potential for diesel hybrids, the passenger vehicle market is still relatively quiet -- but that at last may change.

Honda Motor Co Ltd plans to develop an electric car to debut in the U.S. market by around 2015 as tighter environmental regulations push demand for zero-emission vehicles, the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday.

A spokesperson for the company, Japan's No. 2 automaker, said it was developing an electric car but had not decided when to launch it.

As an engineering student in the 1960s, Takeo Fukui picked the analysis of nitrogen dioxide emissions as his senior thesis with one goal in mind: joining Honda Motor to get a foothold in the world of motor racing.

Toyota Motor Corp's Prius hybrid was Japan's best-selling car in May, a dealers' group said on Thursday, attesting to robust demand for low-emission cars helped by government incentives amid flagging auto sales.

Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday its new Prius had received pre-sale orders for 80,000 vehicles in Japan, kicking off what promises to be a fierce battle against hybrid rival Honda Motor Co.

Honda Motor Co said on Monday its new Insight model became the first hybrid to be crowned Japan's best-selling car last month.

The Insight went on sale in Japan in early February as Honda's first real attempt to challenge Toyota Motor Corp's dominance in the gasoline-electric hybrid segment.

Passenger vehicle makers appear to have bucked the general trend of slowing demand, registering an overall sales growth of over 14 per cent in April to 1,38,772 units over the same month a year ago.