Honda announces all new models will be electric after 2030… but only in China to start

Honda has shared details of a comprehensive electrification strategy that includes two production vehicles and three concepts donning a new “e:N Series” electric branding. The Japanese automaker plans to introduce 10 Honda-brand EV models in the next five years, but only in China. That being said, Honda stated that it “envisions exporting these models from China” as well… someday. 

As an outlet focused specifically on electric mobility, Honda is not an automaker we often cover. While the company has previously shared goals to have 100% electric sales by 2040, a huge chunk of that strategy includes Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles.

In terms of BEVs, Honda remains quite a few paces behind the rest of the industry. In fact, the automaker currently offers just one fully electric vehicle – the Honda E in Europe.

Just recently, Honda shared that its “first volume BEV,” the Prologue, is coming to the US in 2024, and it will be based on GM’s Ultium electric platform. Following the 70,000 unit production capacity of the Prologue, Honda is anticipating sales of 500,000 BEVs by 2030.

Still, Honda’s actual approach to electrification has been haphazard… at least until now. With today’s news, we have a more tangible outlook of Honda’s transition into an electric vehicle brand, at least in the Chinese market.

Honda unveils electric vehicles for China as part of new strategy

In a press release following a virtual press conference today, Honda shared its new electrification strategy for China and unveiled the first two electric vehicles available to consumers overseas.

Furthermore, Honda shared that all new models in China after 2030 will be electric (it’s important to note that this includes hybrids, not solely BEVs). The automaker plans to continue current ICE model production inside and out of China past 2030.

Two production models have already been developed and are scheduled to go on sale in the spring of 2022 as part of Honda’s new electric “e:N Series.” Per Honda:

The name ‘e:N’ represents Honda’s desire to energize people who are trying to do things based on their own initiative in this era of electrification. The ‘e:’ is from ‘e:Technology,’ the collective brand name for Honda’s electrification technologies with which Honda strives for carbon neutrality. The letter ‘N’ stands for ‘New/Next,’ representing new value creation for the next-generation of mobility.

These new EVs include the e:NS1 produced as a joint venture of Dongfeng Honda, and the e:NP1 from GAC Honda.

Honda shared plans to introduce a total of ten e:N Series models over the next five years, including three concepts it unveiled today straight from the Cybertruck infant delivery ward.

This includes an e:N COUPE Concept, e:N SUV Concept, and e:N GT Concept. Honda stated its goal is to start sales of these three additional electric models within the next five years. 

Will Honda sell these electric vehicles outside of China?

So far, Honda’s focus is strictly on China. However, the Japanese automaker said it “envisions exporting these models from China,” whenever and wherever that may be.

This was mentioned specifically alongside the timeline to begin sales of its three concept EVs from the e:N Series by 2025, so perhaps Honda will look to export those models to other markets around that same time.

Honda currently has two new production plants dedicated specifically to electric vehicles planned for both GAC Honda and Dongfeng Honda. Their target timeline is 2024 for the start of production.

A larger EV production footprint opens the door for the possibility of Honda EVs going to other markets, but the automaker still has some major catching up to do globally, not just in China.

Electrek‘s take

Too little too late? Time will tell.

Some of our other contributors have shared their ongoing frustrations of Honda – a legacy automaker currently selling over one million vehicles a year in the US alone. Who hasn’t been in a friend or family member’s Honda Civic or Accord, right?

It’s encouraging to see a Japanese automaker (somewhat) embracing electric vehicles, even if we in the US may only see a lone offering in the Prologue. (Sidebar – 500,000 BEVs by 2030 based on a single model? Come on)

Either way, this move makes Toyota look like it’ll soon be joining the likes of Betamaxx, HD DVD, and Zune.

Don’t get too high and mighty there Honda, you dragged your feet the last decade, and even with your new dive into the EV market in China, the transition feels too slow.

Not to mention China has quite a saturated market of quality EVs. I wonder how Honda plans to stand out? Brand legacy just isn’t enough these days.

Truthfully, I’m rooting for any and all companies who embrace zero emissions to succeed, and that includes Honda. However, the automaker’s obtuse approach to electric vehicles leaves less room for optimism compared to the competitors out there… and boy are there a lot of them.

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