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Honda: Company finally makes a serious move into the electric vehicle market
Falling in line with other manufacturers, Honda has announced its own vision for the electric power train future that it sees on the horizon. At the Frankfurt and Tokyo motor shows two new concept cars were shown off that indicate Honda has decided to conform to the path that many other manufacturers are following, that of the complete adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles. Honda doesn’t expect to drop its conventional engine vehicles entirely; indeed Honda is believed to be the biggest maker of engines in the world, but it does recognize the way the market is developing and sees itself selling two thirds electric and hybrid vehicles by 2025. The vehicles themselves were extremely well received and the company is putting them straight into production as a result, with the first expected in Europe in 2018.
One of the key events in the automotive calendar for any manufacturer is when they release their concept vehicles at an automotive show. The reaction to the vehicles can tell manufacturers if they are heading in the right direction with their technology, design and overall concepts. Regularly, particular vehicles will steal the show for all kinds of different reasons, grabbing all the headlines and attracting customer and media attention. At the 2017 Frankfurt and Tokyo motor shows, one of the stands out concepts was Honda’s EV concept and Sports EV concept cars. Honda may have initially just been testing the water with this design, trying to find a new identity for its EV products, but the response was so good that the company has decided to put both vehicles in to manufacture.
Both Honda and Toyota have been keeping their options open when it comes to the future of power trains. Toyota it could be argued has been much more proactive, with its wide range of Hybrid vehicles really leading the market long before any of the other manufacturers took electric propulsion seriously. Toyota though was developing its electric power train with the ultimate goal of using the hydrogen fuel cell technology it was developing to replace the combustion engine and power its electric power trains that currently can be purchased in most of its production model vehicles already. Honda on the other hand has been less ambitious. Whereas Nissan and Toyota had been heavily involved in the hybrid and electric markets, Honda had released some fairly halfhearted hybrid vehicles, such as the Insight Hybrid, most of which had never been manufactured in any great numbers despite them being initially released as far back as 1999.
In Europe in particular, there is a dramatic change happening in the car market as consumers start to consider more carefully their option for future vehicles. The various diesel scandals involving Volkswagen and the revelations around the dangers of some diesel products have led to consumer confusion. After many years of being encouraged to purchase diesel powertrains in the false belief that they were more environmentally friendly, consumers are now aware that the reverse is true and many diesel variants can in fact be even more harmful than petrol variants. This has led to very large drop offs in sales for diesel vehicles and this is expected to continue to fall.
Honda needed at some point to get a win with its electric options and this new range looks to be a significant win for the company. Most other manufacturers have a foothold in the EV market in some way but before this latest announcement Honda has not been included.