There’s no doubt that Honda fell behind on electric cars. Beat up the company as much as you like about its meager EV offerings to date.
But also consider signs that the Japanese automaker is slowly correcting its course. In addition to introducing the small Honda E in Europe next year, Honda is working on a second EV for about 2022. Other small victories include quitting diesel, putting hydrogen indefinitely on hold, and agreeing with California’s emissions standards.
In late October, at Honda’s “Electric Vision” event in Amsterdam, the company said it was “electrifying” its entire product line, which mostly means hybrids. But hold on. Tom Gardner, senior vice president of Honda Motor Europe Honda, also said, “We will bring further battery-electric products to the market.” The company is starting to talk the talk, a good first step.
The retro all-electric Honda E city car will arrive on European roads in summer 2020. Unfortunately, the $33,000 small EV with a 35.5-kWh pack (offering about 125 miles of range) is not coming to the United States.
Honda will focus its EV efforts first on Europe, where electric-car demand is on the rise. Gardner told Driving.co.uk that the electric car market in the UK grew from 2% in 2015 to 7% or 8% today. “It’s beginning to be significant,” he said.
European emissions regulations are also a chief motivator. “The pace of change in regulation, the market, and consumer behavior in Europe means that the shift toward electrification is happening faster here than anywhere else in the world,” Gardner said.
Read more: Electrek