2011 Honda Odyssey

"Over time you can expect to see broader application of our two motor hybrid system" - Sage Marie

The idea of a hybrid minivan is not new, at least in Japan. Toyota sells the Estima - the world's first hybrid minivan, it has been available since 2001 - and the Aphard hybrids there. The US is not immune to the dream - in 2011, Chrysler said it was going to make a hybrid minivan in 2013 (didn't happen) - but there has never been a gas-electric minivan sold from a major automaker in the US. And, despite new rumors of a Honda Odyssey hybrid for Japan, the chances that the US will get one in the near future remain roughly at zero.

A new report says Honda is considering a hybrid version of the fifth-generation Odyssey in Japan, and such a gas-electric powertrain could reduce fuel use by up to 50 percent. Honda powertrain assistant large project leader Takashi Shinchi told CarAdvice that the hybrid (not a plug-in version) is "under consideration," given the hybrid minivan competition in Japan.

Such consideration is not happening in the US, at least not in any serious way. Sage Marie, senior manager of public relations for Honda North America, told AutoblogGreen, "The only thing the Japanese Odyssey and the US Odyssey have in common is the name. There are no current plans for a US Odyssey hybrid, but I will tell you that over time you can expect to see broader application of our industry-leading two motor hybrid system."

The standard, gas-powered 2014 Odyssey gets 22 miles per gallon, combined (19 city and 28 highway).