Honda Boss Takahiro Hachigo Doesn't Believe EVs Will Go Mainstream
Honda has one all-electric option in its lineup and a few hybrids, but the automaker is still holding back from going all in on electric vehicles. The Clarity Electric, which is the only battery-powered vehicle in the brand's lineup, has a disappointing range of just 89 miles. At the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show, Honda introduced the all-electric E, which we were expecting to see in some capacity as a battery-powered urban vehicle in the U.S. Despite the recent introduction of the new electric vehicle, Honda's CEO doesn't expect to see EVs going mainstream anytime soon.
Hybrids Over Electric Cars
In an interview with Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo, Automotive News claims that the Japanese automaker is trying to stay reasonable with its expectations for electric vehicles. "EVs will not be mainstream," said Hachigo. "The hurdles to battery electric vehicles and complete autonomous driving are still quite high."
For Honda, the automaker won't focus on electric vehicles, but will instead look into introducing gasoline-electric hybrids. Hachigo doesn't see the plan as a way of falling behind the competition, but thinks it's just being more realistic.
"I do not believe there will be a dramatic increase in demand for battery vehicles, and I believe this situation is true globally," Hachigo said. "There are issues with infrastructure and hardware. There are different regulations in different countries, and we have to abide by them. So, it's a must to continue research and development, but I don't believe it will become mainstream anytime soon."
Hachigo does have a point, but it's one other automakers have simply overlooked to meet emissions regulations and demand from outside markets, especially China. Other automakers don't see hybrids or plug-in hybrids as worthy options to have in their lineups. Instead, electric vehicles have become the way forward. But electric vehicles are expensive to manufacture, tricky to get a decent amount of range out of, and aren't selling well in every global market. Hybrids, at least for Honda, are a good in between.
Not Chasing EVs
As Automotive News points out, Honda's future electrification goals are more about cutting carbon emissions, and not putting electric cars on the market just to have electric vehicles. Thanks mostly to Tesla, electric vehicles have become more than just fuel-efficient vehicles, but stylish, tech-forward options that consumers are using as a way to showcase their wealth and status.
The Japanese automaker's electrification plan differs for global markets, though. For Europe, Honda plans to sell only EVs and hybrid vehicles by 2022. For U.S. bound vehicles, the CR-V is getting a hybrid powertrain for the 2020 model year and rumors are circulating that even the Ridgeline may benefit from a hybrid powertrain.
So while Honda has plans to introduce hybrids and plug-in hybrids, don't expect to see an all-electric vehicle from the brand in the near future.
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