Honda to spend $55b on EV push, plans 30 models

Honda also said it is exploring the possibility of creating a joint venture for battery production. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Honda Motor plans to spend five trillion yen ($54.6 billion) on its push into electric vehicles (EVs) over the next decade, as the Japanese automaker with the most aggressive EV moves to back its bold advance into next-generation cars with concrete plans.

It will launch 30 EV models by 2030 with production volume of more than two million vehicles a year, Japan's second-biggest automaker said in a statement on Tuesday (April 12).

It will also build a demonstration line for the production of all-solid-state batteries, with a goal to start production in 2024. Honda declared in June of last year it would phase out sales of gasoline-powered cars completely by 2040, becoming Japan's first automaker to publicly say so.

In the months since, newly minted chief executive Toshihiro Mibe has pushed to hasten the Tokyo-based company's drive into the increasingly competitive electric segment. Part of that offensive has involved doubling down on the world's biggest EV market - China.

In October, Honda announced plans to launch 10 EVs under its e:N Series within five years in the nation, with two of those models set to go on sale this year. Honda also pledged that all models it introduces in China after 2030 will be electric and announced plans for several dedicated EV production plants in the country.

Another push by Mr Mibe has been around changing Honda's long-standing go-it-alone strategy when it comes to developing and selling EVs.

Mr Mibe hinted at as much in his first briefing after being promoted to the top role in February last year, saying that as Honda pivots toward EVs, "time is of the essence and I would opt to use alliances and external insight to accelerate our shift".

Last month, Honda announced it is joining forces with tech giant Sony Group Corp to develop EVs slated to go on sale starting in 2025. The two Japanese firms uphold that Honda's manufacturing prowess coupled with Sony's entertainment and sensor technologies will be a winning combo in the crowded field.

And, earlier this month, Honda and General Motors Co expanded their existing tie-up with plans to jointly develop affordable EVs in major global markets. The duo plan to introduce their first model - with a starting price below US$30,000 (S$41,000) - in North America in 2027.

At today's briefing, Honda, which sources Ultium batteries from GM, said it is exploring the possibility of creating a joint venture with another company for battery production.

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