Honda increases BEV focus
The firm needs to get serious if it is to meet ambitious end-of-decade targets
Just 0.66pc of the cars that Japanese automaker Honda sold worldwide in 2023 were all-electric, albeit that was up from 0.37pc in 2022, according to the company’s European ESG report.
But the firm has set a target of a 30pc share of the cars it sells being all-electric by the end of 2030, meaning it has a relative mountain to climb to reach that ambition. It will invest ¥8trn ($63bn) releasing 30 new BEV models globally by 2030 in an effort to make up ground.
In North America, the firm has a plan for BEVs to represent 40pc of its sales by 2030 and 100pc of its sales by 2040. The Japanese automaker will launch its first fully electric vehicle in North America in 2024 – an SUV called Prologue.
In Europe a new version of the hybrid Civic e:HEV arrived in late 2022. During 2023 Honda also released the full hybrid ZR-V, the hybrid/plug-in hybrid CR-V and its first electric SUV, the e:Ny1.
“As we continue to increase the focus we place on sustainability activities globally, it is clear that the European region can play a key role in the pursuit of our targets,” says Katsuhisa Okuda, president of Honda Motor Europe.
The firm will also scale up its own-brand charging service — currently only available in the UK — by offering it across more European markets this year.
The service schedules access to low-cost renewable electricity by combining a smart EV charger with a dynamic energy tariff and an intelligent charging app, enabling vehicles to charge automatically at times of low electricity prices.
The firm plans to add solar optimisation to the service, allowing users to schedule vehicle charging to coincide with the maximum availability of solar energy.
Honda also piloted a vehicle-to-grid charging service in Germany during 2022 and its EVs are now certified to provide grid stability support to energy suppliers.
In motorcycles, 0.62pc of the vehicles sold by Honda in 2023 were electric, up from 0.01pc in 2022. The firm aims to get this figure to 15pc by the end of 2030.
In Europe the firm this year launched the EM1, its first electric two-wheeler on sale in the region. The EM1 is targeted at urban centres. The vehicle has a 1km of range with a top speed of 45 km/h, and takes 160 minutes to charge from 25pc to 75 per cent. It also uses swappable batteries.
CEO Toshihiro Mibe admitted in an interview recently that Honda was “late to the EV game”. The firm initially put a strong focus on fuel cells, offering a range of passenger FCEVs for sale in Japan and the US.
FCEVs represented just 0.02pc of global passenger vehicle sales in 2022, with 15,391 units sold. This compared to 10.5mn battery electric vehicles, according to consultancy BNEF.
Despite this huge discrepancy — and the ground Honda has to claw back to achieve its BEV aims — the firm refuses to give up entirely on its hydrogen dreams. It recently added a green hydrogen production facility from surplus solar energy at its Energy Research Programme based at its European R&D centre in Offenbach, Germany.