Upcoming Honda vehicles are going electric – here’s why
Upcoming Honda vehicles are no longer only going to be powered by fuel. But as car manufacturers embrace electric, challenges lay further down the road.
Honda made a big announcement recently: from 2022, it will stop making cars that run solely on gasoline for its European market.
This is three years earlier than Honda’s previous pledge to discontinue diesel and petrol-only models from 2025 – and now, the manufacturer says it is on a quest to begin electrifying the vehicles in its range.
It seems that the company plans to focus on electric and hybrid models going forward. But what will upcoming Honda vehicles look like and can the Japanese brand catch up with more established competitors such as Toyota?
Dissecting the big Honda news
The Honda plans hit headlines around the world. Explaining why the company had decided to implement such a policy specifically in Europe, senior vice president Tom Gardner said that the continent has embraced the future of electric vehicles more enthusiastically than others. This meant that clear regulations were in force, with consumers beginning to adopt this technology at viable levels. Demanding emissions targets also mean that manufacturers need to make changes if their products are going to remain relevant in an increasingly environmentally conscious market – especially in cities, which are beginning to introduce the tightest restrictions.
It’s far to say that Honda vehicles have got their work cut out to impress motorists. The company has released electric cars before – ones that didn’t rely on fuel at all, no less – but they struggled to get a foothold on the market. Models such as the Insight, which hit showrooms in the late 1990s, failed to capture the imagination of drivers because the technology was so young. It eventually lost out to the Toyota Prius, which has been going strong as a brand ever since 1997.
But times are changing. Honda’s CR-V is performing strongly in Europe, so much so that hybrid models represent an estimated 60 per cent of sales. Several countries have seen the share of the electric car market almost quadruple in the past five years. As the technology improves, these models are becoming more affordable for consumers – helped in part by the decreasing costs of Lithium-ion batteries.
What Honda vehicles will look like in the future
As you might expect, details of upcoming Honda vehicles are somewhat sketchy – probably because the manufacturer doesn’t want to give its rivals a head start. However, we do know that six electrified models are going to be released over the next three years. A prototype was recently unveiled of the Honda e, which is being billed as the company’s first mass-production electric vehicle to be sold in Europe. Also in the pipeline is the Jazz EV, which is set to offer two-motor hybrid powertrain technology as standard – a feature that’s being described as another first.
The future of electric vehicles
Carmakers worldwide are now embarking on aggressive investment strategies to ensure that their models comply with changing industry attitudes and consumer expectations. Germany’s Volkswagen, which was mired in an emissions scandal a few years ago, is investing tens of billions of euros in electrifying its portfolio of vehicles – a lofty ambition that will involve creating close to 70 electric models between now and 2028.
There are new electric cars coming soon from Hyundai, too, which is investing both in electric cars and autonomous vehicles. Come 2025, roughly half of the models it releases are going to be electric.
As well as concern for the environment, the future of electric vehicles has the potential to be big business. A report by BloombergNEF suggests that two million electric vehicles were sold in 2018. This is expected to soar to 10 million by 2025 and 56 million by 2040. As a share of the overall market, 57 per cent of cars sold to consumers are set to be electric in 20 years’ time. You should also expect buses and vans to go electric in the not-too-distant future – that said, more work needs to be done to make long-haul heavy goods vehicles more green.
China is set to dominate demand for electric vehicles globally, with the government aggressively pushing this technology on a national and a local level. Europe will be the second-largest market as we enter the 2020s.
As the automotive industry begins one of its biggest shifts in decades, it’s unsurprising that infrastructure concerns are coming to the fore. Public charging points are going to need to be installed en masse if motorists are going to feel comfortable depending on electric. More work is also needed to ensure that charges can be completed faster – and according to the BloombergNEF report, wireless charging and battery swapping could be answers here. Adoption by consumers could also be inhibited if they are unable to charge their vehicles at home or work. Answering these questions, and reducing the complications associated with charging, could result in electric vehicles being adopted at a much faster rate than what is currently forecast for the 2020s, 2030s and beyond.
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