Bloomberg / Tokyo
Honda Motor Co is doubling down on the world’s biggest car market, pledging that all models it introduces in China after 2030 will be electric as chief executive officer Toshihiro Mibe pushes ahead with the Japanese automaker’s aim of ditching combustion engine cars globally by 2040.
Honda has said it will introduce 10 electric vehicles under its “e:N Series” range within five years, with two models, the e:NS1 and e:NP1, set to go on sale next year from Dongfeng Honda and GAC Honda, the automaker’s joint-venture companies in China, respectively.
New, dedicated EV production plants will also be built at GAC Honda and Dongfeng Honda, starting in 2024, and Honda eventually expects to export its e:N Series models from the nation, according to Wednesday’s statement. In addition, a strategic partnership with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd, now the world’s largest maker of EV batteries, will be strengthened, Honda said. The two companies signed an agreement to cooperate on R&D in July last year when Honda bought a stake of around 1% in CATL.
Having a strong foothold in China is a prerequisite for Honda to achieve its 2040 carbon-neutral target, said Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at Carnorama. “This is the best scenario for Honda to expand its push to EVs,” he added, noting that while Honda has an alliance with American giant General Motors Co, China is the more advanced EV market.
Honda will face stiff competition, however. Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co are also in China with Toyota planning 15 battery models by 2025 and Nissan already saying it will only sell electric and hybrid models by that date.
Tesla Inc’s Shanghai factory, meanwhile, now produces more EVs than its one in Fremont, California. Tesla also reported record China shipments this week, delivering 56,006 cars in September for domestic purchase and export.
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