Hello and welcome once again to your daily Charge Smart blog! Today, we will be taking a look at Honda's changed stance on EVs but unlike Toyota, they are heading in the wrong direction.
Above: The Honda e concept
We’ve already talked quite a bit about how Volkswagen is very much committed to the EV cause, so much so that they’ve already got factories in place along with the planning they’ve done to release several new EVs cars over the next few years, not to mention their autonomous charging robots that we talked about earlier! VW have very clearly stated that the future is electric and they expect that their ID3 will see a lot of success. That’s VW's stance but there's another major player who completely disagrees with VW.
That’s Honda. The CEO of the storied Japanese company has said that people don’t really want EVs, they just want better fuel efficiency. While VW seem to be planning far ahead to make sure their EV plan is a success, Honda don’t seem to be worried at all. They have previously delivered some EVs in the form of the Fit EV, the Clarity electric which is an electric spin-off of the famous FCX Clarity Hydrogen car, remember that? Honda also sell a Chinese market specific EV called the VE-1 but it seems like 3 EVs were far too many for the brand and now the company is taking a step back from EVs. The company’s CEO expects that fossil fuel powered cars, petrol more specifically will be a major part of Honda’s future. Much like what Toyota used to believe, Honda still believe that hybrid vehicles are the way to bridge the gap between good fuel efficiency and electrification to some extent. In fact, the CEO even said that he was unsure of whether anyone would actually want an electric vehicle given the lack of infrastructure and raw material issues. He doesn’t expect his opinion to be changed in the near future. He also said that he doesn’t believe there is a demand for EVs across the globe and that he doesn’t think they’ll become mainstream in the near future.
Above: The Honda Clarity, they are still trying to sell this as a Hydrogen powered car
I mean, you must be joking right? Statistics in so many countries around the world have shown that EV sales on the rise, rather rapidly. Plus, the charging infrastructure is making great leaps as well. EVs are already commonplace in countries like Norway, the U.S, China and New Zealand of course. Nearly everyone has now seen an electric car, be it something as simple as a Nissan Leaf or a high-tech Tesla Model X. The electrification revolution has become so popular in fact that people with big V8s are getting worked up about the rise of EVs around the world. That may be my take on his statements but the statistics don’t lie, we’ve covered a story outlining the difference in EV sales between 2018 and 2019 plus we’ve even looked at the massive saving that EVs offer to companies when considering a company car.
Anyway, back to Honda. The CEO has chosen to forgo development on electric vehicles and instead focus on improving driver assist features along with improving the efficiency of the company’s production process. Honda still emphasize the importance of hybrids over EVs and the company forecast that 2/3rd of their global sales will be made up of hybrids by the year 2030, that’s not too far away! If you’re wondering what will happen to Honda’s exciting concept car called the Honda E, don’t worry. Honda are still going ahead with releasing the car with a planned European launch taking place later this year. However, Honda’s CEO wants to make it very clear that their move to release the Honda E is more about compliance rather than the company seeing EVs as the way of the future.
Above: Electric Hondas will only go on sale in Europe
Increasingly tough emission standards in Europe are forcing car manufacturers to overhaul their range of cars and production processes in a bid to stay in the market and Honda is no different. They have stated that their EV efforts will be focussed solely on Europe for the moment as the rapidly changing regulations mean that electrification is happening at an alarming rate in Europe. Honda will keep bringing battery related products to the European market where they plan to only sell Hybrids and EVs by 2022, that target has been brought forward by three years! The company have already planned to stop selling diesel cars in the region by 2021. Certainly, steps in the right direction.
The Honda E makes use of retro Honda styling and is predicted to go on sale in Europe sometime later this year. The car will feature a 35.5 kWhr battery pack with just over 200 kilometres of range at a price of nearly $50,000 NZD. That’s pretty much the same price as Volkswagen’s ID3 which is also set to go on sale later this year. The difference being that the ID3 has better range and is more spacious.
Honda have committed a lot of funds towards turning self-driving cars into a reality. They’ve teamed up with U.S based firm Cruise Automation to develop an autonomous car with an all new steering wheel and get this, NO pedals! I’m not sure how I’d feel about a car with no pedals. Honda have also committed funds towards making driver assist features more affordable so they can be integrated into the Accord and Civic. Continuing with Honda’s conflicting ideas they will also be unveiling the Energy Management concept at CES 2020, the company’s idea is for a household to have a few 1 kWhr batteries which can power appliances, delivery robots and small mobility scooters, the batteries are swappable as well.
Its simply mind boggling how a company with a history of innovation like Honda could be so oblivious to the popularity of EVs, remember Honda were one of the first to launch a mass produced hybrid car when they released the Insight in the late 90s.