Honda says it sees hybrids as a bridge to an electric vehicle future, but its EV future is just that: the future.
The company has confirmed it has no plans to introduce any electric vehicles over the next five years, instead focusing on expanding its range of hybrid models.
“Our electrification strategy is all about using hybrid to bridge to electrification in the future,” said Honda Australia boss Carolyn McMahon.
“We don’t have any plans at the moment to introduce EVs.”
The Honda boss said the company will continually monitor the market and what products are made available.
It had previously said in November 2021 it wouldn’t introduce any EVs over the subsequent 18 months, and appears to have moved the goal posts.
“I wouldn’t say it’s not important for us to get an electric car. I think our strategy at the moment is right for us,” Ms Mahon said of the company’s hybrid-focused strategy.
“When we take a look at the Australian readiness, or the Australian market’s ability to cope with electric, we don’t think it’s quite there,” she continued, citing concerns of the lack of charging infrastructure in Australia, particularly in regional markets.
“For us right now, we think hybrid is right, that’s not to say Honda won’t be looking at electric vehicles in the future,” Ms McMahon added, citing Honda’s pledge to roll out 30 EVs globally by 2030.
“We’re really excited and confident that in the long-term we’ll have EVs in Australia.
“Honda will eventually get to EV.”
The company says the change in federal leadership to what appears to be a more pro-EV Government didn’t impact its electrification plans.
It’ll get one with the next-generation model, which Honda has yet to announce local timing for.
Honda therefore looks set to be a laggard locally with EVs, with fellow Japanese brands Toyota and Subaru set to introduce their first this year. Mazda already has one in its MX-30.
Mitsubishi and Suzuki have previewed future EVs in either teaser or concept form, though like Honda they’ve yet to announce any local launch timing.
On the global stage, Honda doesn’t have a particularly wide range, either. It has the Europe-focused E small hatch, plus a pair of SUVs for China, though partnerships with General Motors and Sony will soon bear fruit.
The Honda/Sony joint venture is spawning a new brand called Afeela, with an electric sedan scheduled for production in 2025.
By 2026, Honda will “begin adopting” its own e:Architecture, and aims to have 10 EVs in China by 2027 and 30 globally by 2030.
From April 1, 2023, Honda will merge its electrification efforts across its automotive, motorcycle and power product businesses, with a key focus on the Chinese and North American markets and all other markets lumped into a category called “Associated Regions”.