Honda’s Going All-In Now on Electric Cars and Motorcycles To Catch Up

The world’s largest engine maker says it’ll build electric powertrains for cars, motorcycles, and power equipment from the beginning.

byAaron Cole| PUBLISHED Jan 24, 2023 10:00 AM
Honda’s Going All-In Now on Electric Cars and Motorcycles To Catch Up
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Honda will develop its future electrified cars, motorcycles, and power equipment alongside its internal-combustion counterparts and streamline its global operation, the automaker announced Tuesday. The move aims to catch up Honda's lagging EV businesses with others in the automotive industry, including Tesla, BYD, and General Motors. The company announced the changes will take effect April 1. 

It's unclear what effect the move will initially have, considering most of its electrification strategy made public so far includes long-term partnerships with other businesses and automakers. So far, Honda has announced a partnership with General Motors to build affordable electric crossovers based on GM’s Ultium platform to arrive in 2027. Honda also announced a partnership with Sony to create a sub-brand, Afeela, to make a small EV to arrive around 2026, too. 

According to the company, for now, it means that electrification will figure into its research and development business at the very beginning, quite literally; what used to be called “Business Development Operations” is now called “Electrification Business Development Operations.” That includes automobile development, BEV development, and motorcycle and power products electrification. Honda said last year it would revamp almost its entire motorcycle lineup with electrified offerings, 10 by 2025, complete with solid-state batteries. 

It's easy to look at Honda’s announcement as a rebranding exercise for its operations and take it as lip service for another generation, but the writing for a sea change has been on the wall for Honda for a while. Last year, the automaker struggled mightily with sales in the U.S., with a 33% decline year over year from 2021. Honda is the world’s largest engine maker—by a large margin—and stands to be exposed more than almost any other business by a very rapid adoption of electrification. 

Perhaps to that end, Honda announced it would streamline its global sales regions from six down to three. Those would include separate regions for North America and China, where it sells predominately large vehicles, and consolidate Japan, Asia, Europe and everywhere it sells smaller cars into one region. 

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