Honda’s CEO, Toshihiro Mibe, believes Toyota should stop pursuing hydrogen combustion, hinting that it should perhaps focus on pure-EVs. The Honda boss says his company researched it until around a decade ago as a means of automotive propulsion, but found that it was not feasible for use in cars.
Mibe explained that
We have conducted research into every possibility that’s out there. As for hydrogen engines, we see some quite difficult technological challenges. So, about 10 years ago, we decided this would not become mainstream.
On the other hand, Honda is in the same boat as Toyota when it comes to fuel cell electric vehicles. Both automakers see them as a part of their strategy going forward, in Honda’s case helping it achieve its goal of selling 100 percent EVs and FCVs in North America after the year 2040.
Honda doesn’t say what the proportion of EVs to FCVs will be, but it does make it clear that it
Continues to view fuel cell technology as another pillar supporting the challenge toward carbon neutrality, with the expectation that hydrogen will become more widely accepted as a renewable energy source.
Honda has a long history in the research, development and commercialization of fuel cell technologies, and while continuing its current collaboration with GM, Honda will strive to reduce costs and realize a “ hydrogen society ” by expanding its lineup of FCVs and by using fuel cell systems for a wide range of applications, including commercial trucks and stationary and movable power sources.
It is worth noting, though, that Honda has announced that it will reserve fuel cell electric powertrains for larger vehicles that require more range than a BEV could provide. To us this sounds like most vehicles will be BEVs and only a few special models would be FCVs, although we can’t be sure until Honda details its electrification plans more and specifically says which vehicles will run on hydrogen.
Toyota debuted its hydrogen burning engine in June of 2021 in a modified Corolla hatchback racing car that took part in an endurance race. The company is reportedly planning to equip its 2025 Prius with this power plant, so it will be used as part of a hybrid system. And the Prius is a small car, hinting at the fact that unlike Honda, Toyota doesn’t have a problem putting a hydrogen burning engine in vehicles of all sizes.