Honda has announced it will only sell electric-powered vehicles in the US from 2040, focusing only on battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
It’s a move that echoes that of other carmakers – such as Volvo and Mini and Ford and GM – that recognise the shift in the auto market has the potential to decimate those that don’t embrace electric mobility
Increasing numbers of jurisdictions are declaring war on the combustion engine with bans of new petrol and diesel cars from as early as 2025 (in the case of Norway). Washington State in the US is one of the most recent to do so, setting its target for 2030.
However, as with Ford – which in February announced a pledge to go all-electric by 2030, but only in Europe – Honda has its sights set only on the US market.
Honda is the second largest non-American carmaker after Toyota. It accounts for about 8% of the US auto market in 2020, and about a quarter of its global sales are in the US.
This added up to 1.2 million cars sold in the US in 2020, but sales were down 33.8 per cent, a battering that the auto market at large suffered with the exception of electric vehicles.
The Japanese carmaker currently has one all-electric model on the market (but not for sale in the US: the Honda e, and another – the Honda SUV e – waiting in the wings.
The new announcement comes as the SUV e was unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show last Monday, and on the heels of news the carmaker will introduce 10 electric models in China over the next five years.
Its US plan however has a longer outlook: the company says it will begin introducing more all-electric models to the US market from late 2024.
These models will be built on Honda’s upcoming e:Architecture platform, a dedicated platform that will first be seen on the US market before being expanded to other markets.
Honda has not given much away in terms of what segments they will introduce this architecture to, or how many electric vehicle models will be released over the next two decades.
The company is, however, also developing two large electric SUVs in collaboration with General Motors. One of these will sell as a Honda and the other under the Acrua brand, and both will also enter the market in the mid-2020s.
The promised hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be part of a wider focus on Honda entering the energy business.
Honda already offers the hydrogen-powered Clarity in the US, available under a leasing model for $US379 ($A489) a month over three years.
The hydrogen strategy will see Honda “strive to realize a ‘multi-pathway of energy'” that could also see the carmaker expand into areas where battery-electric power is challenged such as aircraft.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.