Just last summer, Ford rival Toyota said that it didn’t intend to transition to electric vehicles anytime soon, noting that it would instead focus on a diversified powertrain mix. Just a few months later, that same automaker pulled a complete 180 and announced that it plans to roll out 30 new EV models by 2030 and transition Lexus’ entire lineup to EVs in the coming years as well. Last April, Honda announced that it intends to transition to a fully battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell lineup in North America by 2040, but currently only has two EVs slated for the U.S., both of which will utilize General Motors’ Ultium technology. Now, Honda has admitted that it is taking a more cautious approach to its EV transition in the U.S. compared to its rivals, according to Bloomberg.
“We’ve told our Honda dealers that initially this is going to be very regional, said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of Honda’s U.S. subsidiary. “What is the consumer uptake? Right now, I think that’s something that’s a little out of whack. Right now, most BEV business is being done by one company and that’s being sold in very select markets.”
To this point, Honda has not announced where it will build its pair of EVs for the U.S. market, which are scheduled to launch in 2024. Regardless, Gardner noted that the automaker believes that the recent increase in EV sales is being driven by stricter fuel economy and emissions standards in certain states, with Tesla reaping the bulk of the resulting surge in demand for electric vehicles.
Honda has some experience with EVs in the American market, dating back to the 1990s with its poor-selling EV Plus, followed by the Fit EV in 2013 and the Clarity EV from 2017-2020. However, the automaker is banking on its growing hybrid business in the short term. “We believe these hybrid customers will become our first BEV customers in the future,” Gardner said.