Honda, Hitachi Form Electric Motor Joint Venture For Future EVs

2 months ago by Mark Kane 21

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

Honda and Hitachi Automotive Systems have announced they will establish a joint venture company for production of electric vehicle motors (with a 51% and lead share for Hitachi).

Memorandum of Understanding describes that the new company will develop, manufacture and sell electric motors for vehicles in Japan, with manufacturing/sales subsidiaries in the US and China.

The Honda Clarity, currently only offered as a fuel cell vehicle, will also be offered as a fully electric vehicle regionally in 2017, and then as a plug-in hybrid to all 50 states thereafter

Full details to be agreed by the end of March.  The new JV is to provide electric motors not only to Honda, but eventually to other vehicle manufacturers; that latter we assume is what Hitachi is banking on, as Honda currently has a grand total of zero plug-in electric vehicles on the market today.

The official reason for JV is (warning corporate speak ahead): “using the collaboration between a vehicle manufacturer and supplier to generate technological synergy and economies of scale that will strengthen their competitive advantage and business foundation for the motors at the core of an electric vehicle system”.

Hitachi Automotive System has actually been producing electric motors for EV projects since 1999, while Honda so far has developed and produced motors on its own for the likes of the Fit EV and Accord PHV.

“Since Hitachi Automotive Systems first started selling motors for electric vehicles in 1999, it has been refining its technological and product capabilities to develop high-output, lightweight and compact electric vehicle motors. The company has delivered a high volume of these motors to vehicle manufacturers in Japan and throughout the world, and has earned high praise throughout the industry for the performance of these products and its production technology.

Since 1999, when Honda launched its first hybrid car, Insight, the company has focused on expanding its electric vehicle line-up as it continues to enhance its technological and production capabilities with respect to the motors that form the core component of electric vehicles.

A crazy high MSRP (~40k) and just ~13 miles of range meant that the Honda Accord PHV was non-to-successful inits limited stay in the US

Going forward, with environmental conservation measures and regulations increasing on a global scale, the market for electric vehicles is expected to continue to grow. Based on this direction, the two companies signed the MoU with the aim of using the collaboration between a vehicle manufacturer and supplier to generate technological synergy and economies of scale that will strengthen their competitive advantage and business foundation for the motors at the core of an electric vehicle system.

Subsidiary operations of the new Japan-based joint venture are planned for the United States and People’s Republic of China, each with manufacturing and sales functions. Together with the establishment of these operations, the new company will expand the global supply of motors by creating a robust response to demand from Honda and other vehicle manufacturers.

In parallel to the efforts of the new company, Hitachi Automotive Systems will continue to promote its business operations by maintaining the business relationships it has with vehicle manufacturers that receive their supply of motors from the company. Moreover, Honda will continue to focus on the global promotion of electric vehicles by using motors from the new company as well as the motors it currently manufactures itself in Japan.”

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22 responses to "Honda, Hitachi Form Electric Motor Joint Venture For Future EVs"

  1. Someone out there says:

    The same Honda that thinks 80 miles AER makes a competitive EV in 2017…

    1. Sublime says:

      I think the “joint” in “joint venture” is more the Pineapple Express definition, rather than the Wall Street one.

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      It isn’t just about battery cars. Electric motors are needed parallel hybrids, series hybrids, plugin-hybrids, FC EVs. BEVs is fraction of all this.

    3. JIMJFOX says:

      Maybe Honda does not want to be in the EV business? Could it be the profit margin in motors & other parts is far higher than in EV’s?

  2. Brian says:

    “Honda currently has a grand total of zero plug-in electric vehicles on the market today”

    So what? This announcement is about electric motors, which are not dependent on plugging in. Honda is working on FCEVs which use electric motors. Moreover, Honda has been selling cars with electric motors in the US since 1999, longer than any other automaker.

  3. RAV4 EV says:

    It is surprising that Honda is so far behind the competition when it comes to BEV’s and PHEV’s.

    1. mx says:

      Yes, with No Upgrade to the Fit and No National Sales.
      Maybe the CEO should be fired.

      No upgrade to the Insight either.
      Like a bigger electric motor, battery, a Real independent suspension in the back ( instead of that truck suspension ), and a Plugin Option.

      But, really the BMW i3 shows you need to design from the ground up, and even the REX option fits very nicely into the i3 with that design.

  4. bukweet says:

    Does Honda really need to go to all the trouble with this joint venture, just to build compliance cars?

    1. JIMJFOX says:

      http://www.pcworld.com/article/3094781/car-tech/hondas-new-motor-for-hybrid-cars-is-a-very-big-deal.html

      Hitachi Automotive Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi and longtime supplier of components including engine and brake parts to Honda.
      It counts the alliance of Nissan Motor and Renault as its biggest client, accounting for around one-third of annual sales. Other customers include Toyota Motor, Ford Motor, and Volkswagen.

  5. Get Real says:

    What a loser strategy and a disappointing company Honda has become (and my family used to exclusively buy Hondas, 12 of them).

    After being the first to market in hybrid technology, Honda almost completely conceded this segment to Toyota and others and now they are basically doing the same in the EV space and instead pushing the unicorn fantasy of Fool Cells.

    I could see Honda going out of business or being aquired within the next decade or two

  6. realistic says:

    Hitachi has demonstrated some best-of-breed motor controls and battery technology on the Acura NSX. Chances are this is how Honda will electrify first, with performance improvements through electrification, with democratization into smaller, affordable platforms.

    I do agree that Plug-ins are down the road a piece for Honda, but don’t count them out.

  7. CLIVE says:

    Honda was just waiting for the price of batteries to drop.

    Cheap comes out expensive

    1. menorman says:

      Almost. The best thing that Honda has going for them is that they still have basically all their Federal tax credits remaining, so the opportunity exists to bring a stellar product to market and steal the show with it on price. With that being said, they can also fall far behind be wasting all those credits on a BEV with abysmal range compared to the market.

  8. Steva Rajkovic says:

    It’s useless adventure
    Where on earth R nuclear power plants.? It takes ten plus years to built one.
    Where electrical power is?
    It’s useless pipe dream,just like driver less cars

    1. Djoni says:

      Where it come from? A fraction from what is needed to produce gasoline, refining, searching, extracting, transporting it, and a lot more from solar, wind geothermal and wave or whatever to produce electricity would do most.

      Have you notice the biggest nuclear fusion reactor already built and running since a billion year up in the sky?
      It just moves everything on earth and the solar system.
      We just need a fraction of that to get along.

      1. JIMJFOX says:

        In 2015, renewable energy sources accounted for about 10% of total U.S. energy consumption and about 13% of electricity generation.Apr 4, 2016

  9. Iletric says:

    Soichiro Honda is turning in his grave.

    1. CLIVE says:

      Absolutely

  10. Somebody says:

    The latest Clarity EV with only 80 miles range is an insult to the American consumer. Buy a used Chevy Spark EV instead for $10k.

    1. CLIVE says:

      I’d never be caught deadi in a Spark

      I’d rather buy a used Leaf for $6k

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