Company officials said Honda is in the process of developing its own infrastructure capable of not just designing but also building electric vehicles. After its first two fully electric models – manufactured with the help of General Motors – go on sale in 2024, Honda will begin working on new, fully native-produced models.
“It’s absolutely our intention to produce in our factories,” said Honda of America Executive Vice President Dave Gardner. He added that the company has already gained significant battery manufacturing expertise from the production of its own gas-electric hybrid vehicles. “We absolutely intend to utilize that resource.”
In April, the company announced that it will phase out all of its gasoline-powered vehicles in North America by 2040. This makes Honda the latest major automobile manufacturer to set a deadline for becoming carbon neutral. (Related: General Motors announces plans to phase out diesel and gasoline cars by 2035 and replace them with electric vehicles.)
The company wants 40 percent of its North American sales to be for battery- or fuel-cell-powered vehicles by 2030. By 2035, Honda wants 80 percent of all vehicles sold to run on hydrogen or batteries.
Honda’s initial goal was to meet the United States’ stricter fuel economy (miles per gallon) and pollution standards by manufacturing more hybrid vehicles and improving its current lineup of internal combustion engines. But this plan was ruined by regulatory actions from nations all over the world supposedly to combat climate change, including proposals from President Joe Biden. Gardner said Honda now wants to focus more on electric vehicles.
Honda partners with GM to build its first fully electric vehicles
General Motors is planning to build Honda’s first two fully electric vehicles for North America. These are the Prologue SUV and an as of yet unannounced utility vehicle that will be based on General Motors’ electric vehicle platform powered by its Ultium batteries.
The company believes it might sell between 40,000 to 150,000 Prologues annually. This will help the company reach its 2030 goal of 40 percent of all its sales going to fully electric models.
Honda’s alliance with General Motors was ratified with a non-binding memorandum of understanding signed in Sept. 2020. It builds upon a previous joint agreement signed by both companies earlier that year to develop Honda’s first fully electric vehicles.
Under the terms of their latest agreement, General Motors and Honda have teamed up in North America to share vehicle research and development and engineering costs. The deal also stipulates that the two companies will work on a “range of vehicles to be sold under each company’s distinct brands.
Following the completion of their agreement to manufacture Honda’s two fully electric vehicles, the companies have pledged to “explore further co-development opportunities.”
“This alliance will help both companies accelerate investment in future mobility innovation by freeing up additional resources,” said General Motors President Mark Reuss.
Honda Executive Vice President and COO Seiji Kuraishi said the alliance with General Motors will enable the company to better “invest in future mobility technology, while maintaining our own distinct and competitive product offerings.”
Battery-electric vehicles only accounted for less than two percent of all new vehicle sales in the U.S. last year. But analysts are predicting huge growth as automobile manufacturers like Honda roll out new, fully electric models.
Automotive industry-focused consulting firm LMC Automotive predicts that nearly 359,000 new electric vehicles will be sold in the U.S. this year. In 2023 the number of sales could hit one million, and by 2030 that number could balloon to four million.
Learn more about moves by Honda and other automobile manufacturers to build more electric vehicles and supposedly become greener at RoboCars.news.