New Honda CEO: Electricity Will Be A Core Product For The Next Generation

JUL 8 2015 BY JAY COLE 48

A few major auto makers fully embraced plug-in technology from the word go; names such as Nissan, General Motors, Tesla (obv), Mitsubishi and Ford.  Shortly thereafter, some others quickly responded to keep pace, lest they left behind by their competitors; names such as Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen/Porsche.

Honda Says Next-Gen FCV Clarity Will Arrive Before April 2016 (FCV Concept From Its US Debut)

Honda Says Next-Gen FCV Clarity Will Arrive Before April 2016 (FCV Concept From Its US Debut)

Then there were the big 3 hold-outs, who steadfastly publically refused to accept (or believe) plugs would be a major part of their future – Toyota, Honda and Fiat/Chrysler.

Now it appears Honda has come 180, and has officially embraced electricity as a “core product” in their future, as brand new company CEO & President Takahiro Hachigo, unveiled the “vision for the company” on Monday, promising a “new Honda”.

One of two themes presented by Mr. Hachigo was the “continuous development of challenging products unique to Honda and delivering them to our customers around the world,” but more specifically in this group “Honda will evolve products that use electricity as a core technology” in the “next-generation of mobility products.”

This of course doesn’t mean the end of the much-loved (in Japan at least) fuel cell vehicle projects, as Mr. Hachigo also said the company looks to bring the next-generation version of the Clarity FCV to Japan by March 31st of next year.

However, his first public speech on the importance of multiple electric vehicles underlines Honda’s recent decision to both terminate the anemic Accord PHV and to replace it now with both a more serious plug-in hybrid and a fully electric vehicle by 2017.

Honda’s statement on future plug-ins and a FCV:

“We are also working to advance electrified vehicles to meet the diverse needs and wants of environmentally conscious customers. We are developing an entirely new generation of vehicles starting from the introduction in 2016 of our next-generation fuel cell vehicle. This will be followed by an all-new battery electric model and the all-new plug-in hybrid model.”

Can Toyota be far behind with a major plug-in announcement or two of its own?  We think not at this point.

Honda (via GreenCarCongress)


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48 Comments on "New Honda CEO: Electricity Will Be A Core Product For The Next Generation"

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2017 has been seen for some time now, as the “all-in” juncture. If they don’t all have products, the hold outs will probably have the white flag raised by then.

There’s the possibility that they just quietly buy California credits from other companies. However, that’s one market. Doesn’t keep you in China, the biggest auto buyer. I seriously doubt Honda will walk away from China.

“This of course doesn’t mean the end of the much-loved (in Japan at least) fuel cell vehicle projects, as Mr. Hachigo also said the company looks to bring the next-generation version of the Clarity FCV to Japan by March 31st of next year.”

Not to mention that electricity is actually a core technology for FCEVs as well. 😉

I don’t think they are ‘much loved’ in Japan either. They have some supporters but the public has not been real interested in buying them.

I think FCVs have been big there due to a few high-profile supporters such as Toyota execs and the Prime minister of Japan.

The government of Japan, along with a large number of Japanese (oil and) natural gas companies, certainly have been pushing the “Hydrogen Highway”.

If the Japanese people are resisting that dead-end technology, if they’re not buying into that propaganda, I’m glad to hear it. It actually is less insane in Japan, considering that all oil has to be imported and that there is an electricity shortage caused by shutting down most of their nuclear power plants.

Of course that still doesn’t make hydrogen fuel practical; the laws of thermodynamics work in Japan the same as anywhere else. But since the alternatives are more expensive than in other countries, it has the appearance of looking less bad there.

Their electricity shortages can be solved by firing up a few of the nukes. There must be some that are in relatively safe areas.

But I don’t understand how hydrogen can make sense there. Hydrogen is made from natural gas or electricity . . . they have among the highest natural gas prices in the world (they import LNG) and you’ve already mentioned their electricity shortage.

It just makes no sense to me. All I can figure is that big-wigs at Toyota and government have a fetish over FCVs.

“Safe” and “Japan” are not necessarily compatible. The main island sits almost precisely on top of a junction of three tectonic plates (Earthquakes), with the actual convergence not far from Tokyo, and not far underground (only a couple kilometers). And, being an island nation, they are never far from a coastline (tsunami, which are often caused, directly or indirectly, by earthquakes). It is a pleasant surprise to me that they lasted as long as they did until the Fukushima disaster.

It can also be solved by at sea floating tilting Wind generators of 10 MW each. A thousand of those along their immense endless coastline would be more than enough.

That’s only 5Gw, 5 nukes worth at best. So 4x’s that plus solar, geothermal, hydro with biomass, wastes to fill in.

Great news! One more nail in the fool-cell coffin (what a waste of time, energy and financial resources on a losing technology)
Honda will drop their FCEV project just after the Japanese olympics, which is the only reason that they will stay with it – to please the Japanese government who want to showcase hydrogen at the Olympics.
This development now puts Honda and Nissan ahead of Toyota (last out)

I’m not convinced, as he could be speaking about fuel cells when he references electricity as part of their core product.

Hope to be wrong though.

Yeah, that’s how I read it too. I’m not convinced that Honda will turn to the plug.

That said, the major battery makers are gearing up to produce the next generation battery. I’m sure that LG Chem/Panasonic/Samsung/etc would be happy to sign a contract with Honda/Toyota/FCA/etc. GM/Nissan/Tesla/etc don’t have a monopoly on the battery tech.

if these big jap companies want to sell FCVs then they better put a plug on them because no one is going to make it to the filling station much without it.

You may not be aware, but “Jap” is considered an offensive term in the United States:

“Jap is an English abbreviation of the word “Japanese.” Today it is generally regarded as an ethnic slur among Japanese minority populations in other countries, although English-speaking countries differ in the degree to which they consider the term offensive. In the United States, Japanese Americans have come to find the term controversial or offensive, even when used as an abbreviation.”


That’s what I see too. He may be talking about cars that use electricity in their drive-train (including gas-electric hybrids and fuel cells), not plug-ins.

I’ve seen automakers call fuel cell vehicles “electric vehicles with fuel cell” when they want to put them in the same group as BEVs. Let’s see how serious their plug-in offers are until final judgement.

Case in point: I just went to to look at their lineup, and under “vehicles” they have listed “FCX Clarity Electric Vehicle”. It doesn’t even mention that it runs on hydrogen in the overview, just that it has 300 mile range and refuels in under 5 minutes.

Minor correction – there is one mention of the fuel cell, in small print towards the bottom: “Groundbreaking new fuel cell stack”. To the untrained eye, though, this is easily overlooked when the entire car is advertised as a zero-emission electric car.

..Channeling my inner James here…
(because, where is that guy these days?)

Just look at all those lightning bolts! They already have a full line of cars that use electricity!

Agree. This whole thing sounds like “rebranding”, like the way HD is applied to everything now. They are hoping that consumers will confuse “electric” cars with FCVs sufficiently to sell them.

Honda has nothing to worry about. Its experience in FCEV development places it in a great position to produce BEV when it is satisfied that the battery development is there.

Remember how far ahead they were with the 1st gen Insight?

That argument had been made plenty of times by many automakers. They assume they can just wait around for the other leaders in the market to provide the demand to develop the batteries and then swoop in later to take the market. But the market is not able to bear all manufacturers being successful with this strategy. The Prius is a great example of a car that built a lead that still isn’t able to be surpassed, despite technology being at the point making it much less costly to build a competitor. The other problem is, as mentioned in the other articles, LG Chem is lining up to the pretty much the only supplier of inexpensive long range batteries other than Tesla. They are still being nice to all comers right now given production haven’t started and there is still doubt about their battery matching their claims. But once things are running and their batteries are confirmed to be viable, if Honda or the other late comers want to also buy, I doubt the pricing would still be the same. Sure, they would be able to build an EV with similar specs and pricing, but this is a separate matter… Read more »
History is littered with the corpses of companies which delayed developing the new tech in a disruptive tech revolution; companies lead be executives who said “We can always catch up later”. The admonition “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is nowhere more true than it is for legacy companies during a disruptive tech revolution. The Stanley Motor Carriage Company, maker of the Stanley Steamer, at one time outsold every other automobile maker in America. But when advances in gasmobiles lead to the Model T Ford outselling the Stanley Steamer by a widening margin, instead of adapting to the new technology, they tried to fight it with a campaign against the “internal explosion engine”. Kinda like the recent campaign by Toyota, Honda and Hyundai to promote FCEVs over plug-in EVs. Stanley produced 500 cars in 1917, but the company went into decline after 1918 and the factory was closed in 1924. The question isn’t if the EV revolution will put some gasmobile makers out of business; the question is how many. Will Honda be one of them? I dunno, but one thing’s certain: If they waste R&D money for several more years on “fool cell”… Read more »

Love Toyotas (I’ve got two Hybrids) but so disappointed about their position on BEV. 🙁

That’s exactly what my wife has been saying also. Her Prius has been rock solid and she would love to replace it with an EV version.

Hmm, if Toyota doesn’t get out of the fuel cell biz (its team up with the oil companies) and into plug-ins it may be out of business in 10 years. Their battery tech is so far behind and even their hybrid tech is falling behind quickly. The new Prius better be really good.

If Toyota would just drop an 80kw pack in the Mirai they would sell 100 times as many of them.

Toyota’s BEV plan was to partner with Tesla. Then that plan got killed when Panasonic couldn’t deliver enough batteries. Toyota has been investing for years in battery tech like solid state. Toyota will be a leader, but it takes a while to recover from plans gone bad.

Honda can do extremely well if they enter the market. Especially the hot CUV and SUV models that they sell so well.

A new Honda BEV was already announced in Detroit in Jan 2015 (under the old CEO) for 2018.

I don’t see this announcement as a new strategy, rather a confirmation from the new CEO.

would never buy a honda so dont really care

Too bad they won’t just pop the EV drivetrain back into the Fit and its platform cousin the HR-V and be the first on the market with a BEV CUV to beat out the Tesla Model 3 CUV set to arrive in 20XX…

My wife and I have owned numerous Toyotas and Hondas over the years, but we are both adamant that we won’t spend a single cent on another until the company in question has at least one serious car with a plug. (For us, a “serious car with a plug” means a PHEV with at least a 30 mile AER or a BEV that’s has equivalent or greater range than our Leaf.) Like others here, I’m skeptical that any large company can sit back, let the market develop on its own, and then leap into the fray. Unless they have their own way to build batteries at a competitive price (good luck with that) or a pre-existing agreement with Tesla for a chunk of their gigafactory output, they’re in deep trouble. I’m astonished that H and T, companies with plenty of resources to develop and market EVs, have done so little, despite the overwhelming evidence of where the market is going. If they wanted to play the compliance credit game with HFCVs, they simply could have said, “We’re doing hydrogen and PHEV/EV cars because we believe in giving customers a choice in this time of technological change and enhanced environmental awareness.… Read more »

Honda’s 180 was signal several months back when they announced that they would be making a new PHEV and a new battery electric.

I don’t see the 180.

They announced an FCEV in 2016 in low numbers, BEV in 2018.

As many car makers, they will offer many propulsion systems in parallel and let the market decide.

I believe BEV sales in USA are less than 1%…pitiful numbers folks…we can do better.

Well, I guess I’ll believe it when I see a real product. So far that hasn’t really happened except the fit and RAV compliance cars. Notice the vagueness of the wording: “challenging products” and “that use electricity as a core technology.” What does that really means. Could be a lot of things, including simply more fuel cell nonsense.

“Honda will evolve products that use electricity as a core technology” Honda CEO

The Honda CEO did not say ‘batteries’, he said ‘electricity’, so clearly he is not limiting Honda to battery-only BEVs.

Just read the sign behind the Honda in the picture:
“Honda FCEV concept”

good one Scott

“Now it appears Honda has come 180” err, no.

A longer quote from the same speech reported on GCC indicates Honda is still pushing FCEVs, not changing direction from FCEVs to BEVs:
“In a speech outlining his future vision for Honda Motor, new President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo said that the company will strive to begin sales in Japan of the next-generation successor to the Clarity fuel cell vehicle before the end of the current fiscal year (ending 31 March 2016).
Hachigo also said that as the next-generation of mobility products, Honda will evolve products that use electricity as a core technology. ”
Link to speech on Honda web site:

They do both, FCEV in 2016 in low numbers, BEV in 2018.

That was the strategy under the old CEO as well, no big change.

Quoting the article:

“A few major auto makers fully embraced plug-in technology from the word go; names such as Nissan, General Motors, Tesla (obv), Mitsubishi and Ford. Shortly thereafter, some others quickly responded to keep pace, lest they left behind by their competitors; names such as Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen/Porsche.”

Hmmm, looks like some revisionist history is going on here.

As shown in the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, GM was until very recently a very long way from “embracing” the new technology of plug-in EVs. It was only after Tesla marketed the Roadster that GM decided to get serious about one, and only one, PEV; that resulted in the Volt.

And I’m even more surprised to see the article claim that Volkswagen “quickly responded to keep pace”. Surely it has been less than two years since InsideEVs regularly castigated VW for being a stubborn holdout against the EV revolution?

Maybe this article had a contribution from Winston Smith and the Ministry of Truth. 😉

Sadly, the bio of the news CEO includes a minivan and kei cars, but no mention of involvement in the 1st generation Honda Insight coupe.
With diverse responsibility for jets, bikes & gensets as well as cars, it is not surprising but a little disappointing that the only mention of EVs was the two bullet points of bringing the next generation Clarity to market & the use of electricity as a core technology.

Wow Honda has finally seen the light …
Plug in fully electric vehicle.

Now Toyota what about you?
You don’t the public doesn’t buy the Fuel cell crap to keep the status quo don’t you?

Can’t beat charging where you park the car and from sunshine even better 🙂

Honda has a long, long track record of trying things their own way, getting a slap-in-the-face from the market, then copying the market leader – sometimes taking over market leadership in the process.

Look a the first generation Odyssey – nope, Honda, minivan buyers didn’t actually want a taller compact station wagon. The second generation was basically a combo of the best selling features from Chrysler and Toyota.

Look at the first generation Insight. The market said: Nope. The second generation dumped the first generation approach and directly copied the Prius – only this time they were too late to make a market imprint.

I fully expect Honda to introduce a LEAF copy in 2017.

” The second generation dumped the first generation approach and directly copied the Prius”

The only thing they copied from the Prius was the back seat.

Had they copied the drivetrain, then they would have had a chance. But the Honda drivetrain simply wasn’t as refined and smooth and efficient as Toyota’s.

Not too late, simply not good enough.

“to meet the diverse needs and wants of environmentally conscious customers.”

That doesn’t bode well. The reason why Tesla succeeds is that they build a car that anyone would want to drive. This will likely be another quirky, slow, unpractical vehicle.