An alternative strategy is sometimes best.
Honda has committed itself to an all-electric future but it's going to take some time. A full 19 years, in fact. That's plenty of time to decide on a strategy and pursue it. Company executives have acknowledged this will be an uphill battle but can't be ignored. It's simply the way the industry is heading and getting left behind is not an option. Ditching combustion technology in favor of batteries only is also very expensive and this is where Honda's longtime pragmatism could continue to serve it well.
Reuters reports Honda's new CEO, Toshihiro Mibe, said last Friday he's willing to form alliances with other automakers in order to make electrification a profitable venture. "If through an alliance Honda can accomplish early what it should aim to be, then we'd be willing to form an alliance," he said.
Many industry analysts have been suggesting it's probably wiser for carmakers to share EV technology and costs in order to bring battery electrics to the masses faster and cheaper. Honda agrees. If you recall, it's already signed a deal with General Motors to jointly develop two EV SUVs for North America. One will be badged as a Honda (called the Prologue), the other an Acura, and each will benefit from GM's Ultium batteries and a new platform called e:Architecture. Expect a 2024 debut for both.
This isn't the first time Honda and GM have joined forces. They previously collaborated on fuel-cell technology and self-driving vehicles.
At the moment, Honda is one of the few automakers that does not sell an all-electric model in North America. The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell hydrogen-powered model is only sold in California. It does have a popular lineup of hybrid models, such as the CR-V Hybrid and Insight. Overseas, the Honda e all-electric city car is currently on sale.
The alliance route certainly sounds like smart business, as Mibe added: "Building an alliance will become a huge direction in terms of increasing the number of electric vehicles, considering how electrification is not commercially feasible right now." The CEO didn't mention any potential alliance partners but we're pretty certain GM is at the top of its list.