Honda Will Be Late To The EV Party


Can you believe that people get paid bazillions of dollars to take perfectly good companies and run them into the ground? Ford’s recently departed CEO, Mark Fields, refused to wake up and smell the EV coffee percolating right under his nose. Honda, once a beacon of innovation, has been off chasing hydrogen-tinged rainbows for the past 10 years or so and paid little attention to the battery-electric market market.

Honda EV

Honda’s green car cred has been severely damaged by such automotive disasters as the Civic Hybrid, the second-generation Insight, and the godawful CR-Z. Yes, it’s latest Accord plug-in hybrid is a pretty good car, but in general, Honda has allowed the EV market to pass right by its door with hardly a sniff of serious interest.

All that is about to change, according to Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo, who announced the company’s Vision 2030 strategy on June 7. “We’re going to place utmost priority on electrification and advanced safety technologies going forward.”

The plan involves improving coordination between its research and development department, procurement team, and manufacturing facilities to reduce costs. Honda has budgeted nearly $7 billion for R&D this fiscal year. Hachigo claims his company will have a vehicle capable of driving itself on the highway (Level 3) by 2020 and in city traffic (Level 4).

Hachigo says the company’s focus is now on the EV market, with the emphasis on electric and self-driving cars. New driving technologies, AI, and new energy systems will all be part of the Vision 2030 program. But the hydrogen bubble has not burst completely at Honda. When Hachigo talks about electric cars, he is including plug-in hybrids, fully electric cars, and fuel cell–powered cars like the Honda Clarity.

There are reports that Honda is working on translating the 1000 horsepower four-motor electric powertrain used in last year’s NSX Pikes Peak challenger for use in a production car. A source tells Auto Express,  “We are developing new technologies, we want to apply the system to electric vehicles — high power and high response motors, we are researching and developing.”

So Honda may in fact have its head in the EV game after all. Let’s hope it has not let itself get too far behind. Some legacy carmakers are definitely going to fall by the wayside as the world transitions to electric cars. It’s weird to think that once mighty Honda could be one of them.

Source: Automotive News

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • Rick Danger

    The only automaker I would miss if it fell by the wayside would be Mazda. Smaller company with a lot of heart.
    The rest can go F themselves.

    • Steve Hanley

      Zoom zoom! : – )

      • Rick Danger

        Yep 🙂
        You love your Miata, and I loved my ’83 RX-7.

        • Steve Hanley

          I owned three first generation RX-7s, including a black GSL-SE that was my favorite. The sound of that rotary engine spinning up to (and past redline!) was something special.

  • mb

    I still don’t get it. Honda is sitting on a very nice plug-in hybrid power train they can drop in most all of their offerings and they could have had a Clarity with 200 miles range right now. They just let Toyota unchallenged in the hybrid market and Tesla get at least a decade long head start on EVs…

    • Steve Hanley

      Tis a puzzlement. I have written to Hachigo-san and offered to straighten out the company for one tenth what he is making. Still haven’t heard back from him, though. It’s been over a year…… ; – )

      • mb

        I’ll team up and do it for less 😉

        9th gen Accord came out in 2013 with the plug-in hybrid
        10th gen Civic in 2016
        3rd gen Pilot in 2016
        5th gen CRV in 2017
        I find it hard to believe they cannot drop in the plug-in hybrid train in these last 3…

        They could have kicked Toyota’s behind!

  • IPV7

    For the car manufactures that don’t have a strong EV offering in the very near future they will go out of business.

    I believe this one area where if you fall too far behind you will get your lights put out by someone else.

    If the Chinese government gets behind battery/car manufacturing like they have with solar manufacturing this trend will accelerate that much faster and spell the demise of some companies sooner rather than later.

    • bioburner

      Pickup trucks and SUVs are saving them for now.

    • M98987

      Having just tested the BMW i3, the world better watch out.
      If BYD puts out a Chinese Ci3/REX with high quality and Chinese pricing, the auto industry is in for a world of PAIN.

      I also figured out why the i3 drives so quietly. You’re sitting on the battery. That battery blocks a LOT of road noise. It really is a pleasure to roll away for lights and stop signs with Zero Noise. It really is a tranquil but spirited drive on country roads. A real pleasure.

      Conversely, why is the Prius Prime’s rear ( independent ) suspension so bad??? The heavy battery in the back. That rear hatch is nearly fully loaded with battery, and that battery is heavy. Toyota hasn’t really compensated for that weight. in the suspension design. That’s why the rear is a two seater. You already have a 300 pound passenger in the hatch area.

      • Steve Hanley

        The Prius Prime is selling well. Why, I have no idea.

  • hi,

    nice ever made design for sedan car ,

    nice launching ,


    mansi desai

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  • Compared to other car brands such as KIA, HUYNDAI …, Honda products are extremely picky users. But Honda products have beautiful designs, good quality and special environmental protection