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Published on May 19th, 2010 | by Nick Chambers

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Honda “Lacks Confidence” in Electric Car Business, Adopts Wait and See Attitude

May 19th, 2010 by  
 

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.

Source: Bloomberg


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Not your traditional car guy.



  • Nick,

    Gotta agree with you on this one. After 18 great years with an 1992 Acura Integra I bought

    new off the lot, I’ll be leaving Honda in the dust in the next couple of years — because they aren’t going to offer an EV or PHEV any time soon. And I’m not the only Honda fan that’ll be saying goodbye either, as you can see by the comments here (http://tinyurl.com/2femjo8) from current Honda owners who’ll be ditching Honda soon because it refuses to get with the program on EVs.

    Too bad, because I’d be very inclined to stick with Honda — if it had an EV coming in the next 1 to 3 years.

  • Nick,

    Gotta agree with you on this one. After 18 great years with an 1992 Acura Integra I bought

    new off the lot, I’ll be leaving Honda in the dust in the next couple of years — because they aren’t going to offer an EV or PHEV any time soon. And I’m not the only Honda fan that’ll be saying goodbye either, as you can see by the comments here (http://tinyurl.com/2femjo8) from current Honda owners who’ll be ditching Honda soon because it refuses to get with the program on EVs.

    Too bad, because I’d be very inclined to stick with Honda — if it had an EV coming in the next 1 to 3 years.

  • Civic Minded

    Honda is notorious for playing its cards close to its chest. While all the other players maintain hydrogen vehicles will never go anywhere due to lack of fueling infrastructure, Honda has quietly invested in a multi-billion solar cell manufacturing plant in Japan and have developed a home hydrogen refilling station that manufactures its own hydrogen from sunlight during the day and he grid at night when time-of-use rates are lower. Maybe Honda won’t be jumping on the EV/PHEV bandwagon because what they will be bringing to market is way beyond that!

  • Civic Minded

    Honda is notorious for playing its cards close to its chest. While all the other players maintain hydrogen vehicles will never go anywhere due to lack of fueling infrastructure, Honda has quietly invested in a multi-billion solar cell manufacturing plant in Japan and have developed a home hydrogen refilling station that manufactures its own hydrogen from sunlight during the day and he grid at night when time-of-use rates are lower. Maybe Honda won’t be jumping on the EV/PHEV bandwagon because what they will be bringing to market is way beyond that!

  • Chris O

    I can certainly see why Honda isn’t to keen on plug-in technology. They got the ICE game down to an art with hightech Honda ICE technology in anything from cars, motorcycles,mopeds, outboard engines, lawnmowers and what not. Since they basically define themselves as the ICE king it makes sense they’re not to keen on any paradigm shifts. I guess that explains their interest in hydrogen. Not too threatening since it’s always 5 years away…

  • Chris O

    I can certainly see why Honda isn’t to keen on plug-in technology. They got the ICE game down to an art with hightech Honda ICE technology in anything from cars, motorcycles,mopeds, outboard engines, lawnmowers and what not. Since they basically define themselves as the ICE king it makes sense they’re not to keen on any paradigm shifts. I guess that explains their interest in hydrogen. Not too threatening since it’s always 5 years away…

  • douglas prince

    Honda and Chrysler will be biting the dust in about 6 years. Chrysler because, well, it’s Chrysler and I think even THEY have given up. And Honda for the very reasons cited above. Their market share as an ICE company will grow smaller and smaller as hybrid and EV tech takes center stage. Maybe they can use their niche vehicles to sell to the next Hollywood blockbuster.

  • douglas prince

    Honda and Chrysler will be biting the dust in about 6 years. Chrysler because, well, it’s Chrysler and I think even THEY have given up. And Honda for the very reasons cited above. Their market share as an ICE company will grow smaller and smaller as hybrid and EV tech takes center stage. Maybe they can use their niche vehicles to sell to the next Hollywood blockbuster.

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