Honda Australia has committed to rolling out electric cars in Australia, but only after it’s established a range of hybrid options.
The brand already has the cute E city hatchback in its global range, and has revealed a number of concept cars previewing vehicles that will live under the electric e:N sub-brand.
Introducing a range of hybrid cars will be the central focus for Honda in Australia over the next two years, however, before it starts its electric rollout.
“Our focus over the next couple of years is going to be on the introduction of full model changes, expanding the range where we can, and hybrids,” Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins told CarExpert.
“Certainly, beyond that period of time, electric is very much on our radar. Whether it’s the E or other options that are available to us in other parts of the world, then we will certainly be vigorously investigating that.
“Overall, sourcing from Japan will open up some doors on that front. Electric is definitely part of our plan, it’s just not a part of our plan over the next 18 months or so,” Mr Collins said.
Electric car sales represent a tiny slice of the pie in Australia. With 4029 sales (excluding Tesla) to date in 2021, pure-electric cars account for around 0.5 per cent of the market
Mr Collins said the electric car market is “clearly growing rapidly, but it’s growing rapidly off a very, very low base”.
“Amongst a number of brands there’s a race to bring electric cars to the market, and we want to bring them as soon as we possibly can – but in the whole scheme of things the numbers are still relatively small,” Mr Collins said.
“We see that, we want to be a part of that, and we’re confident that when we can bring the right product to market in terms of electric then we’ll be right in amongst the mix of the leading brands,” he said.
Honda has grand electric plans on a global scale. In his first major event as CEO, Toshihiro Mibe committed to ditching internal combustion engines for its cars by 2040.
Honda’s interim targets include 40 per cent of sales in “major markets” being electric (EV) and hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) by 2030.
The share of EVs and FCEVs in major markets will rise to 80 per cent by 2035 before hitting 100 per cent globally by 2040.
At present Honda sells only a smattering of electric vehicles, including the retro E hatchback for Europe and Japan, and a clutch of models based on the HR-V in China.
For the world’s largest car market, Honda is planning to introduce 10 EVs over the next five years. These will seemingly be based on existing vehicles using platforms designed primarily for internal combustion engines.
Honda previewed the first of these at the Shanghai motor show with the SUV e:Prototype (above), which is based on the third-generation HR-V.
In 2024 the company’s electric offerings will be boosted by two further models (one for Honda, one for Acura) aimed at North America.
Both will be built at General Motors plants and based on the Ultium platform, meaning they will be closely related to the GMC Hummer EV.
On top of this, Honda has confirmed it’s developing its own dedicated EV e:Architecture, which will go into production during “second half of the 2020s”.
Models on this platform will be launched in North America first before being made available elsewhere, and are previewed by the edgy concepts pictured higher in the story.
Japanese buyers can look forward to a pure electric kei car by 2024. The domestic market Honda range will only have electric and hybrid models by 2030.