DETROIT (AP) – Although General Motors will build Honda’s first two all-electric vehicles for North America, the Japanese automaker plans to change course and manufacture its own later this decade.
Company officials say they’re developing their own EV architecture, and after two GM-made EVs go on sale in 2024, Honda will start building its own.
“It is absolutely our intention to produce in our factories,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of Honda of America, adding that Honda has developed expertise in manufacturing batteries by building gas-electric hybrids. “We absolutely intend to use this resource.”
Honda and GM have been partners on the hydrogen fuel cell and electric vehicles. Earlier this year, they announced that GM would build a Honda SUV and an Acura SUV using its electric vehicle architecture and Ultium-branded battery system. The company said the Honda SUV will be named Prologue and both SUVs will have Honda-designed bodywork, interiors and driving characteristics.
But after those two, Honda is planning its own manufacturing for most of a series of electric vehicles, although it has not determined whether it will use GM components.
Gardner says the sales forecast for the Prologue is between 40,000 and 150,000 per year, but he did not say when those numbers would be reached.
In April, the company announced plans to phase out all of its gasoline-powered vehicles in North America by 2040, making it the last major automaker with the goal of becoming carbon neutral. Honda wants 40% of vehicle sales in North America to be battery or fuel cell powered by 2030, and 80% of all vehicles sold to be battery or hydrogen powered by 2035.
Honda had originally planned to meet stricter government standards for fuel economy and pollution by adding hybrids to improve internal combustion engines. But regulatory moves around the world to tackle climate change, including proposals from US President Joe Biden, have shifted the company more towards electric vehicles, Gardner said.
Battery-electric vehicles made up less than 2% of new vehicle sales in the United States last year, but analysts predict huge growth as automakers roll out new models. Consulting firm LMC Automotive expects nearly 359,000 units to be sold this year, surpassing 1 million in 2023 and reaching over 4 million in 2030. Still, this represents about a quarter of annual new vehicle sales.