Have the last two holdouts among major automakers just hopped on the electric bandwagon, or are they just indulging in some fast-follower greenwashing? Following Toyota’s announcement of a new line of battery-electric vehicles, Honda now says it plans to make battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles 100% of its North American sales by 2040.
There are grounds for skepticism: unlike the heroes of the hour, VW and GM, which are already producing and selling EVs in the US, Honda (like Toyota) currently offers no BEV models for sale in North America (the Clarity Electric compliance car was discontinued after 2019, and the Honda e electric hatchback isn’t sold in the US).
The 20-year timeline is also an eye-roller for EV-watchers, most of whom expect gas-burners to go the way of flip phones long before 2040. However, Honda has offered a couple of interim targets: 40% electrics by 2030 and 80% by 2035, in line with new global and regional targets recently announced by Honda President Toshihiro Mibe.
Honda has announced plans to launch a series of new EV models for North America, based on a new platform called e:Architecture, beginning “from the second half of the 2020s.” Honda is also jointly developing two electric SUVs that will use GM’s Ultium batteries, and hopes to introduce them to the North American market for model year 2024.
Honda also announced a goal to make solid-state batteries available for new Honda EV models in the second half of the 2020s. The automaker is conducting independent research on solid-state tech, and hopes to start up a demonstration production line “starting this fiscal year.”
Like Toyota, Honda continues to cling to hydrogen fuel cells, continuing its current collaboration with GM, and exploring the use of fuel cell systems “for a wide range of applications, including commercial trucks and stationary and movable power sources.” This seems to contradict a 2019 statement by Honda Europe President Katsushi Inoue, who called fuel cell cars “a technology for the next era.”