Honda has announced its plans to invest at least £33 billion through 2030 to push hybrid and fully electric vehicles to 40 percent of its sales by the end of the decade. This comes amid the automaker's relatively slow pace compared to rivals such as Volkswagen and GM in committing billions of pounds to develop and build EVs and batteries.
Despite this commitment to electrification, Honda's CEO Toshihiro Mibe believes that combustion engines could still be around by 2040 and beyond. "As we move toward carbon neutrality, we are focused on electrification and fuel cells - those are the two core components of future mobility," said Mibe in a Reuters report.
Gallery: 2024 Honda Prologue
Mibe has been in the business of engine development for 30 years, so he's personally not fond of the EV era. "But I have to separate my own feelings from what is best for the business," he commented.
To achieve Honda's goal of pushing EVs and hybrids to 40 percent of its sales by 2030, the Japanese company has established a standalone business unit to oversee the development of its EV and battery business, which could eventually include an investment in charging stations, similar to Tesla's Supercharger network.
Honda is also running feasibility studies on a range of technologies, from chargers and advanced batteries to aerial vehicles and rockets, as well as new low-carbon e-fuels that could help keep combustion engines around for another decade or two.
Despite these investments and feasibility studies, Honda is keeping realistic expectations about the longevity of the internal combustion engine, with Mibe noting that performance cars, trucks, and other heavy-duty vehicles will likely keep combustion engines for some time to come.
Honda has partnerships in place to build batteries with LG Energy Solution in Ohio starting in 2025, which will be used in Honda's future EV factories in North America. Before then, Honda will get two new electric SUVs, the Honda Prologue and the Acura ZDX, from GM’s Spring Hills factory in Tennessee in 2024, born from the partnership with the American automaker.
Honda is also developing its own EV architectures, which will arrive in 2026, as well as advanced batteries of its own design for some of those future models.