Honda Motor Co Ltd today held a press briefing on its initiatives in the automobile electrification business. The motor group plans to spend 5 trillion Yen ($40 billion) on electric vehicles in the coming decade.
Honda is working towards a "zero environmental footprint." As one of the world's largest power unit manufacturer with annual sales of approximately 30 million units of mobility products including motorcycles, automobiles, power products, outboard motors and aircraft, Honda aims to realize carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities Honda is involved in by 2050, striving to eliminate carbon emissions from power sources of a wide variety of products. To this end, Honda believes that a multifaceted and multidimensional approach is needed, not a mere replacing of engines with batteries. Including the utilization of swappable batteries and hydrogen as well as electrification of automobiles, Honda will offer a variety of solutions for all of its mobility products according to how its customers use the products in various countries and regions.
In the past, Honda divided its organization by products, namely motorcycle, automobile and power products. However, starting this fiscal year, technology areas have been moved from their respective product-based organizations and combined under the newly created Business Development Operations. Such core areas are: electrified products and services, battery, energy, Mobile Power Pack, hydrogen and software/connected technologies that connect all core areas. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Electric Vehicles: Land, Sea and Air 2021-2041.
The key challenge in the EV era is the global procurement of batteries. Honda has two basic approaches for its battery procurement strategy:
1) Now and for the time being:
Honda will ensure stable procurement of liquid lithium-ion batteries in each region by strengthening the external partnership.
- North America: Honda will procure Ultium batteries from GM. Separately, aside from GM, Honda is exploring the possibility of creating a joint venture company for battery production.
- China: Honda will further strengthen collaboration with CATL.
- Japan: Honda will procure batteries for mini-EVs from Envision AESC.
2) From the second half of the 2020s:
Honda will further accelerate its independent research and development of next-generation batteries. For the all-solid-state batteries it currently has under development, Honda is building a demonstration line, investing approximately 43 billion yen, with a goal to make it operational in Spring 2024. Honda aims to adopt its next-generation batteries to models to be introduced to the market in the second half of the 2020s.
Specific plans for the market introduction of EV models are as follows.
1) From now through the second half of the 2020s:
Honda will introduce products tailored to the market characteristics of each region.
- North America: In 2024, Honda will introduce two mid- to large-size EV models currently being developed jointly with GM. (Honda brand: All-new Prologue SUV, Acura brand: an EV SUV model.)
- China: Honda will introduce a total of 10 new EV models by 2027.
- Japan: In early 2024, Honda will first introduce a commercial-use mini-EV model at the 1-million-yen price range. Then, Honda is planning to make the timely introduction of personal-use mini-EVs and EV SUVs.
2) After the second half of the 2020s:
- In 2026, Honda will begin adopting Honda e: Architecture, an EV platform that combines the hardware platform and software platform.
- Through the alliance with GM, Honda is planning to introduce affordable EVs in 2027, with a cost and range that will be as competitive as gasoline-powered vehicles, starting from North America.
- Through these initiatives Honda is planning to launch 30 EV models globally by 2030, with a full lineup from commercial-use mini-EVs to flagship-class models, and Honda is planning for production volume of more than 2 million units annually.
As for EV production operations, in China, Honda is planning to build a dedicated EV plant in Guangzhou as well as Wuhan. Honda is also planning for a dedicated EV production line also in North America.
In the areas of electrification technologies, including batteries, as well as software and connected technologies, for the acceleration of its development efforts, Honda will proactively pursue inter-industry collaboration and alliances, as well as investments in startups.
Honda will budget approximately 8 trillion yen for its research and development expenses. Of all R&D areas, Honda is planning to invest approximately 5 trillion yen in the areas of electrification and software (Approx. 3.5 trillion yen for R&D expenses and approx. 1.5 trillion yen for investments).
While taking on challenges toward carbon neutrality and electrification, Honda will globally introduce two sports models, a specialty and a flagship model.
Source and top image: Honda Motor Co Ltd