Honda has been singing a tune that's similar to Toyota's when it comes to the future of EVs, especially related to the US market. While the Japanese automaker isn't sold on talk of crazy and growing EV demand on our shores, Honda has made it clear it has plans to announce a US EV factory in the near future.
Honda's future plans include two electric cars in the US by 2024, which it will develop alongside GM. Moreover, GM will reportedly provide Honda with battery packs for the EVs. That said, Honda's target for the electrification of its full lineup is planned for 2040, which lags behind rivals' plans.
Executive VP of Honda USA Dave Gardner voiced his concerns about the future of EVs in the US. He said Honda dealers in the States have been informed that the brand will start with a "very regional" approach. We assume this will be much like that of Kia and Hyundai, with Honda only selling fully electric cars in certain states, and perhaps in very small quantities, at least initially. Gardner went on to share:
“What is the consumer uptake? Right now, I think that’s something that’s a little out of whack.”
Automotive News added that Gardner was talking about consumer needs and wants for EVs as compared to "automakers’ efforts to rush EVs to market." The VP also suggested that people don't really want EVs, but stricter fuel economy standards are making them necessary. He added that Tesla has been the primary beneficiary of such government policy. Gardner stated:
“Right now, most BEV business is being done by one company and that’s being sold in very select markets."
Again, it's not abundantly clear exactly what Gardner is trying to say. However, it appears he's making a case for selling Honda's EVs in markets where Tesla is already most successful.
Honda will certainly not back away from accepting incentives from the US government as it moves forward with EVs. The company is one of several that has pushed back against the Biden Administration's efforts to offer larger subsidies to EVs made in the US by union workers. This is one area in which Honda and Tesla are in agreement. Gardner said it shouldn't matter "which American" is producing the EVs.
The Japanese automaker has had a rocky past with electric vehicles, in general. However, it plans to offer some compelling EVs in the future that will be built from the ground up. At this point, Honda hasn't revealed where it might manufacture future EVs in the US, such as the Prologue.
On a positive note, Honda has seen a notable increase in its hybrid sales. Following suit with Toyota, Honda is now offering some of its most popular gas-powered models, including the CR-V and Accord, in hybrid configurations. Gardner believes Honda's growing base of hybrid customers is likely to be the first group of car shoppers to adopt its future battery-electric vehicles.