Honda’s 4 Step Victory Plan For Electric Minivan

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 30

2015 Honda Odyssey

2015 Honda Odyssey

Honda Logo

Honda Logo

Awhile back, The Street’s Anton Wahlman presented a 4-step plan for Honda to take sole control of the plug-in electric minivan segment.

Here’s the 4-step process, as outlined by Wahlman:

  • Use the Odyssey minivan body. This enables you to pack a much larger battery while retaining a large space for passengers and luggage alike.
  • Increase the battery size from the current 6.7 kWh [in the Accord PHEV] to 16 kWh, which is close to the Chevrolet Volt and where federal tax benefits top out. This would vastly increase the electric range of the car.
  • Increase regenerative braking, making it similar to the class-leading BMW i3.
  • Fire the person responsible for the instrumentation/infotainment-related functions [of the Accord PHEV]. Buy a Tesla Model S. Copy it.

Of course, we’re well aware that Honda, a non supporter of plug-in vehicles, won’t follow this advice, but Wahlman concludes:

“If Honda follows my four-step plan, and does so very quickly, it would have a car that would sell more than 100,000 per year instead of perhaps 1,000 per year of the current Accord plug-in.”

“For a 100-fold increase in sales, I am available to help. Honda, you know how to find me.”

At time of publishing, Honda had not yet contacted Wahlman.  Our guess is that a phone call is not forthcoming, but still we see success written all over this plug-in minivan that Honda will never make.

Source: The Street

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30 responses to "Honda’s 4 Step Victory Plan For Electric Minivan"

  1. MrEnergyCzar says:

    A regular hybrid minivan doesn’t even exist yet… odd.

    1. DanCar says:

      It does, just not in the U.S.

  2. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    Honda will do the electric minivan their own way, dammit. Then, after it is a market failure, will copy the market leader. And all Honda fans will treat the new Honda as if it is profound rather than a copy.

    See also: Odyssey, generation 1 and 2. Insight: before and after the hybrid systems was redesigned to copy the Prius.

    1. Brian says:

      The Prius copied the Insight’s body design but added two doors and improved the hybrid system. Honda then copied the larger form factor bit kept the old hybrid system ( IMA).

      I like my genII insight, but Honda is killing it again because Toyota has them outclassed. But the two companies see hybrid and fuel cells as the future. I expect them to both play catchup a decade from now.

      1. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

        It’s possible Toyota copied the Insight body design with the Gen 1 Prius – I know nothing about that. However, their hybrid approach was far superior to Honda’s, as was the Gen 1 Sienna a far superior approach than Honda’s Gen 1 Odyssey.

        1. Brian says:

          Yes, Toyota’s design was superior. It still is, that’s what I was getting at. You claimed that Honda copied Toyota’s hybrid design in the Insight, but that is incorrect. Honda still uses its old, inferior IMA hybrid system in the Insight. It’s the new Accord hybrid which copies the Synergy Drive system.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            “It’s the new Accord hybrid which copies the Synergy Drive system”

            Actually the new Accord hybrid is closer to the Volt than the HSD…

  3. ElectricRocketShip says:

    It is my opinion that a PHEV or a BEV mini-van (or full sized SUV) is required to convert the masses to EV’s. If we can get these with a 150-200 mile range, then you start winning over the family car market.

    While you could put in a Leaf sized battery (24kW) and it would cover most day-to-day driving, mom’s are not going to buy these until there is a great QC network and enough range for a 2-3 hour road trip.

    If I were Nissan or Toyota, this would be a top priority for me. Honda makes great cars, much more refined than Nissan, but they clearly are only making EVs for CARB requirements. I had to ditch Honda in order to get any sort of EV in Tennessee. I went with the Leaf, and while it is a great commuter car, it is not a true family car.

    1. A similar powertrain to Mitsubishi’s 2014 Outlander PHEV that includes DC QC … just that US delivery has been delayed.

      A PHEV with 16-24 kWh all-electric power is game-changing and a huge untapped market segment.

      1. Nate says:

        The article is about a minivan and your reply was to a post about the importance of “mini-van (or full sized SUV)”. The Outlander is no where close to a full size SUV or a minivan. The Outlander is closer to the size of a Rav-4 than a minivan. The Rav-4 once had a 3rd row seat too. Neither gives you anywhere close to the same space as a Pilot … now compare a Pilot to an Odyssey or Sienna in terms of 2nd and 3rd row comfort and cargo space and it clearly comes up short.

    2. muchski says:

      Drive a Rogue, Murano, Altima, or Leaf. Nissan makes as if not more refined vehicles than Honda. Especially with internal comfort, road handling, and instrument panels! Nissan is one of the fastest growing car brands for good reasons!

      1. Rob Stark says:

        Not in this Universe.

      2. Nate says:

        I had a week long rental in a Rogue and it was OK but not all that exceptional. In this class, I’d prefer a CR-V or CX-5. I also had a rental Sienna more recently and it was very good.

      3. ElectricRocketShip says:

        My experience with Nissan is that they often make really great looking car bodies, and that the interior looks great at first glance. But upon further inspection there are always little quirky things.

        For instance the 2013 Leaf with leather seats are not fully leather, only the highly visible parts are leather. The rear seatbelt recepticals are so recessed that a 5 year old cannot buckle themself in unless you purchase an optional seatbelt extender. The ceiling cover is not tightly bonded to the roof, allowing you to press it in. Cup holders are in an odd location, etc.

        I feel like Nissan often gets their cars to the 80-85% mark and says, “good enough.” I would like to see them do better.

  4. Mike999 says:

    Honda makes great cars.
    Still waiting for the Fit HYBRID/Plugin Hybrid in the US.
    Still waiting for the Fit EV to be sold in volume.

    1. QCO says:

      Try not to die of old age waiting…..

      Honda is a FCV advocate that pays lip service to BEVs with a compliance car.

  5. I’m wondering if Anton Wahlman actually drives an electric car. The analysis is stultifying.

    Anton> Increase the battery size from the current 6.7 kWh [in the Accord PHEV] to 16 kWh, which is close to the Chevrolet Volt and where federal tax benefits top out.

    The issue is utility, i.e. fuel cost savings and zero emissions, not where do the tax credits top out. If half of your driving is on petroleum, you are not accomplishing the goal, you are only halfway there.

    >Anton Buy a Tesla Model S. Copy it.

    I have to self-edit my response, or it wouldn’t be fit for polite company. I’ll limit myself to one word: Fail.

    Honda needs to reach deep into their collective psyche and bring out the creative, inspiring, innovative leadership that made the company a world leader in highly efficient automobiles.

    The advice to copy anyone is simply depressingly banal, and an insult to thousands of brilliant Honda engineers.

    1. vdiv says:

      Well said. Honda’s position is also an insult to all of us. Carlos Ghosn also said it well, people expect the automakers to step in and offer alternatives. Honda and Toyota have relegated their leadership responsibility and replaced it with insults.

      Where is my all-electric Civic?

    2. Eric Loveday says:

      Yes, Anton drives an electric car. He’s a proud Chevy Volt owner, possibly a future BMW i3 buyer too.

  6. James says:

    You do know that the chrysler town and country electric version is due for release in 4q 2015?

    1. David says:

      I’ll believe it when I see it.

  7. Brian F says:

    I have a Model S and 07 Odyssey in my family. I would love to have an EV with the functionality of an Odyssey at a price point far lower than the Model X.

    If I had an Odyssey with 30 miles of EV range. I would only buy gas once a year if that.

    1. David says:

      +2
      30 miles would be perfect

  8. Gsned57 says:

    I don’t care who makes it but want a phev/ev minivan. Gotta seat 7 and a dog

  9. Mike I says:

    The plan laid out in this story is a good one. Honda does not have the ability to make enough batteries for a full electric minivan. Heck, they can’t even build enough batteries for the Accord Hybrid and Accord Plug-In Hybrid yet. I think the existing Accord Plug-In Hybrid hardware would work well in the Odyssey. No need to change the size of the ICE at all. Maybe add a 50kW rear axle motor to give AWD and a little more oomph off the line when desired. Full electric around town and direct drive Atkinson on the freeway is a good solution for a vehicle the size of the Odyssey.

  10. Nate says:

    The e-NV200 is not a minivan. It is a compact cargo van more like a Ford Transit connect. It has 2 seats. Even if it was reconfigured to have more seats it would not be 8 passenger like an Odyssey or a Sienna, or have rear seats the fold flat into the floor. The Sienna is more than a foot longer and almost a foot wider. Even if the batteries took up any cargo room compared to the NV200, the Sienna has about 30 more cubic feet behind the front seats.

    1. Mike I says:

      e-NV200 is being made in several configurations, including a passenger version. Clearly the utility is not the same as an American Odyssey or Sienna, but saying the Nissan has only 2 seats is incorrect.

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