Many observers and industry analysts believe Honda hasn’t been too enthusiastic about pure electric cars powered by batteries. The Japanese car industry favors hybrid and hydrogen-electric-powered vehicles over battery-electric cars. However, it seems as though Honda’s corporate mindset has changed. On paper at least. CEO Toshihiro Mibe is no longer prepared to be an observer looking from the outside in. Mibe is setting Honda on an alternative corporate plan, one that apparently will see Honda go gasoline-free by 2030.
However, this switch to pure electric cars will come at a $40BN spending spree to meet the 2030 target. Honda averages around 4.5 million worldwide car sales each year. As of today, the company has sold a total of 32,000 battery-electric vehicles. Last year Honda sold over 560K electrified vehicles. In the car industry, electrified is a marketing term for gasoline hybrids.
Nevertheless, Honda is targeting an annual production rate of 2M electric cars by 2030. Honda’s overall plan is to produce lighter more efficient battery technology. To do so the company will invest in solid-state battery technology.
Solid-State Battery Technology
To date, solid-state batteries are a horizon with no setting or rising sun. The technology has the potential to revolutionize EV transportation and make fossil-fueled cars look akin to primordial technology. Solid-state breakthroughs are often reported, but none have delivered or made it to mass production.
For now, Honda sources its lithium-ion batteries from General Motors. In an apparent contradiction, Honda will not go fully electric in so far as the company will still use gasoline-powered hybrids, for some of its international sales regions. America is one such region.
Speaking to the media recently, Toshihiro Mibe said:
“Honda will not just stand by and watch. We want to be the one taking initiative to bring about transformation.”
Under Mibe, Honda’s proposed spending spree will allow the company to re-position itself as a software-first company, a playbook first adopted by Tesla. That means future cars will become autonomous and rely on advanced software to drive the car and keep passengers engaged through in-car solutions.