Honda, like most other major automakers in Japan and Korea, is still very much invested in fuel cell hydrogen powertrains, which has resulted in little development in battery-powered vehicles.
While the company is apparently not ready to give up on fuel cell, they announced plans to “strengthen the development” of battery vehicles and that they will unveil a new electric vehicle this autumn.
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The company made a rare step into the electric vehicle segment in a long time this year with all-electric and plug-in electric versions of its Clarity sedan.
The all-electric Clarity is currently seen as too expensive for its range and it will be difficult for it to compete against vehicles like the Chevy Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3, or even the Hyundai Ioniq or the Nissan Leaf.
As part of its Vision 2030 strategy plan unveiled today, Honda announced an increased research and development effort in electric vehicles and self-driving technology.
They disclosed their timelines for level 4 self-driving for 2025 and level 3 autonomous driving in 2020:
Those timelines are significantly behind most of what the industry has been guiding.
More directly related to electric vehicles, Honda President and CEO Hachigo-san mentioned that they plan to unveil a new battery-powered vehicle by the end of the year.
Hachigo-san said (via AutoExpress):
“We will strengthen the development of fuel cell vehicles as well as battery electric vehicles. In addition to a China-exclusive model scheduled to go on sale in 2018, a dedicated EV model for other regions is under development. We will introduce this model at an auto show this autumn.”
As we recently reported, China-exclusive electric cars are popular with foreign automakers due to the country’s new ZEV mandate, but a new EV platform for other regions is new.
An auto show this autumn could likely mean Frankfurt Motor Show, where we could get to see this vehicle.
The new EV is expected to have a long range and feature high-speed charging.
CEO Hachigo-san also added that he expects that two-thirds of Honda’s global sales to be made up of “electrified vehicles.” The breakdown is even more interesting though: 50% would be hybrids (HEV) and another 15% would consist of plug-in hybrid models (PHEV), all-electric (BEV) and fuel cell vehicles.
We recently shared reports pointing toward most vehicles being entirely powered by batteries around the same time, but Honda considered even hybrids, which are purely powered by gas, to be “electrified vehicles.”