Honda's new CEO Toshihiro Mibe has announced a major electrification push with a focus on battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).
The company "will strive" to increase the ratio of BEV and FCVs within overall unit sales to:
- 40% (in all major markets) by 2030
- 80% (in all major markets) by 2035
- 100% (globally) by 2040
The approach will differ between the markets. Honda highlighted what to expect in three major markets: North America, China and Japan:
North America - Ultium-powered Honda/Acura EVs are coming
The specific targets for the BEVs/FCVs share in North America are:
- 40% by 2030
- 80% by 2035
- 100% by 2040
The plan to achieve it includes an alliance with General Motors. Honda has officially confirmed that together with GM it is jointly developing two large-sized EV models (one from the Honda brand and one from the Acura brand ) using GM’s Ultium batteries. Those two models were rumored several months ago, in January 2021.
Introduction is planned as model year 2024, which suggests late 2023 (at least for one of the two).
The second, long-term solution, is an all-new e:Architecture EV platform for a new series of battery-electric models (starting from the second half of the 2020s). We guess it will be mostly an in-house platform, as the Japanese company describes it: "a completely new EV platform led by Honda."
- In North America, we will strive for an EV/FCV unit sales ratio of 40% by 2030, 80% by 2035 and 100% by 2040. Leveraging the alliance with GM as one of our strategic pillars, we will pursue electrification in North America efficiently while taking advantage of the respective strengths of both companies
- Honda and GM are jointly developing two large-sized EV models using GM’s Ultium batteries, and we are planning to introduce these models to the North American market as model year 2024 vehicles, one from Honda brand and the other from the Acura brand.
- Starting from the second half of the 2020s, Honda will launch a series of new EV models which adopt e:Architecture, a completely new EV platform led by Honda. These EV models will first be introduced to the North American market, and then to other regions of the world.
The specific targets for the BEVs/FCVs share in China are the same as in North America:
- 40% by 2030
- 80% by 2035
- 100% by 2040
So far, Honda was relying on EV models utilizing local resources in China (read joint ventures), but in the future it will accelerate electrification efforts and plans to launch 10 new Honda-brand EVs withing five years.
The first new BEV will be based on the most recent Honda SUV e:prototype shown in Shanghai. Sales will start in Spring 2022.
Interestingly, Honda mentions strengthening of collaboration with its battery supplier CATL.
- In China, we will strive for an EV/FCV unit sales ratio of 40% by 2030, 80% by 2035 and 100% by 2040.
- In China, we have been introducing EV models while utilizing local resources, and we will further accelerate this approach from here forward. We will introduce 10 Honda-brand EV models within five years. As the first of the 10 models, the mass-production model based on the Honda SUV e:prototype is scheduled to go on sale in spring 2022.
- We will further pursue the utilization of local resources, which includes strengthening our collaboration with CATL for the supply of batteries, which are core components for electrified vehicles.
The specific targets for the BEVs/FCVs share in Japan are slower (by 2030):
- 20% by 2030 (compared to 40% in North America and China)
- 80% by 2035 (100% including hybrids)
- 100% by 2040
In 2024, Honda will introduce its first all-electric K-car model in Japan. The batteries will be supplied by a local manufacturer.
Thanks to the partnership with GM and Cruise, Honda will introduce in Japan the Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle (expected in mid-2020s). This year the company will be starting development.
- In Japan, we will strive for an EV/FCV unit sales ratio of 20% by 2030, 80% by 2035 and 100% by 2040. Also, including hybrid-electric vehicles, we will strive to electrify 100% of our automobile unit sales in Japan by 2030.
- Including the first introduction of an EV model in the K-car segment in 2024, we will continue making progress in the electrification of our mini-vehicles with both hybrid and EV models.
- For the procurement of batteries, we will strive to realize a “local production and local procurement” approach in Japan, which also will contribute to the growth of domestic industries in Japan.
In the area of mobility services (MaaS), we are aiming to introduce the Cruise
- Origin, an electric self-driving vehicle Honda is currently developing jointly with GM and Cruise, in the Japanese MaaS market in the mid-2020s. With this aim, we will be starting development for testing in Japan from this year.
Honda all-solid-state batteries
A separate, general topic for Honda is research on all-solid-state batteries (high energy densisty and low cost) for the next generation EVs, expected in the second half of the 2020s:
"In order to secure the high competitiveness of our EVs of the future, Honda is conducting independent research on all-solid-state batteries as the next generation batteries which will realize high capacity and low cost. We will undertake the verification of production technology using a demonstration line, starting this fiscal year. We will begin accelerating this research with an aim to make all-solid-state batteries available for our new models to be introduced in the second half of the 2020s."
Motorcycles and other products
Honda intends to introduce various EV vehicles and also gradually expand its lineup of electric scooters and motorcycles. At least in the next few years, those will be however only the smaller models.
A key point here is the intention to separate batteries from the scooters/motorcycles (offer them as a service) and introduce battery swap stations (together with other Japanese manufacturers).
- The key to successful electrification of motorcycle products is to consider the battery, which is still expensive, separately from the motorcycle. In developed countries, where electrification is in strong demand by society, we will pursue electrification utilizing Mobile Power Pack, targeting our B-to-B (business-to-business) and B-to-G (business-to-national/local governments) customers.
- For personal-use customers, we must not only enhance our product lineup but also make a large number of battery-swapping stations available and ensure convenience to users by making them compatible with EVs of other makers. To this end, Honda has established a consortium with other motorcycle OEMs in Japan and Europe, respectively, to develop technology standards for swappable batteries. Honda has a vision to expand Mobile Power Pack applications beyond motorcycles to power products and micro-mobility products. With this vision, we have begun demonstration testing in India using “rickshaw” type tricycle taxis.
- To accommodate the diverse needs of our customers, in addition to introducing GYRO e: and GYRO CANOPY e: in the area of business-use bikes, scheduled for this year, we are going to introduce three new EV models in the area of personal use, in classes with engine sizes of below 50cc and below 125cc., by 2024. We also will introduce new products in the “FUN” area as well.
In terms of the fuel cells (hydrogen fuel cells) the company says only a few words, which indicates to us that the main focus will be on BEVs:
"Hydrogen is expected to be popularized as a renewable energy source. Honda has a long history of researching, developing and commercializing FC technologies.
While continuing our collaboration with GM, Honda will strive to reduce costs and realize a “hydrogen society” by expanding our lineup of FCVs and also by using FC systems for a wide range of applications, including commercial trucks as well as both stationary and movable power sources."