Honda pours $40 billion into electrification, targets 2 million EV production by 2030

David Beckam

EV ambitions

Honda Executive Vice President Kohei Tekeuchi said the 2 million EVs Honda will be prepared to produce in 2030 represent about 40 percent of its 5 million global output plan that year.

With global volume around 5 million vehicles, Honda hopes to achieve a 7 percent operating profit margin, up from the 5.5 percent expected in the fiscal year just ended March 31.

Honda, which sells about 4.5 million vehicles a year worldwide, has a long way to go before going pure BEV. To date, it has sold only 32,649 battery-electrics, cumulatively, since marketing its first, the Honda EV Plus, in 1997. Honda sold almost half those EVs, 14,324 units, in 2021 alone.

Honda has made a much bigger dent with hybrids, a segment it helped pioneer with the Insight. It has sold 3.91 million cumulatively over the years, including 561,165 gasoline-electrics in 2021.

The limited-run EV Plus, a squat three-door micro car, was Honda’s first EV, but the battery-powered version of the low-selling Clarity sedan was the first to be marketed in the U.S.

Today, its only global all-electric offering is the Honda e urban runabout. Honda has sold 9,226 of the subcompact hatchbacks in Europe and Japan through the end of 2021, including 4,171 units last year. Honda also sells three locally-focused EV models in the China market.

Tailored and global

As a mid-sized player on the global stage, Honda needs the help of friends. For a long time, it has circled wagons with General Motors on a range of projects, from hydrogen fuel cell technology to electric vehicles. But Mibe has been actively courting new partners.

Mibe stressed that gasoline-electric hybrids would remain a key element of Honda’s lineup well into the 2030s and that he expects demand for them to increase in places such as middle America.

“We will continue to rely on hybrids as one of our powerful weapons,” he said.

In terms of EV offerings, Honda sees three platforms ahead in the near term.

One platform will be a mini and subcompact EV platform developed for Japan and Asia. In Honda’s home market, it will debut as a commercial mini vehicles. The other is a midsize EV platform being jointly developed with GM. The third is the in-house e:Architecture framework, which will underpin larger vehicles, especially those for North America and China, Mibe said.

Of the 30 EVs Honda plans to launch by 2030, 10 will debut in China through 2027.

“Through the second half of the 2020s, which will be the dawn of the popularization of EVs, we will introduce products tailored to the characteristics of each region, such as our key EV markets of North America, China and Japan,” said Shinji Aoyama, the senior managing executive officer in charge of Honda’s electrification strategy.

“After the second half of the 2020s, we assume it will be the period of EV popularity. At this stage, we will begin introducing the best EVs from a global perspective.”

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