Published on May 19th, 2010 | by Nick Chambers
Honda “Lacks Confidence” in Electric Car Business, Adopts Wait and See Attitude
Having dipped their feet in the waters of electric vehicle sales in Japan once before, Honda’s president of research and development, Tomohiko Kawanabe, said that they still “lack confidence” in demand for electric cars, according to a report from Bloomberg.
“It’s questionable whether consumers will accept the annoyances of limited driving range and having to spend time charging them,” Mr. Kawanabe is quoted as saying. “We are definitely conducting research on electric cars, but I can’t say I can wholeheartedly recommend them.”
Boo. My personal feeling: if Honda doesn’t get their EV butt in gear right quick, they’ll be left behind to wallow in lagging sales and a has-been status. With such tepid next generation vehicle emotions from Honda’s head of R&D, I don’t have much hope for the future of that company.
Certainly the estimates for how many EVs will be sold by 2020 are all over the board. But even at 3% of the market (which hybrids currently capture) EVs will be big business. It feels like the established hybrid powerhouses are still stuck in that mindset. That somehow hybrids are all that matter in the future and we can satisfy all of our needs with hybrids alone.
It feels like Honda has lost its way on this one. Now all of their fanciful but kind of impractical electric car concepts (like the 3R-C above) are starting to make sense: Honda views the EV market as a never ending niche, therefore it is designing niche EV products without mass market appeal.