Honda is only now starting to focus on building new energy vehicles, is it too late?

Japan’s major automakers have fallen behind in the field of electric vehicles, recently announcing that they will abandon the diesel car market and start developing more electric vehicle models.

According to foreign media eletrek, Honda will launch two pure electric models in 2020 and 2022. In addition to launching the smaller Honda E model in Europe next year, the company is also developing another electric model, expected to arrive in 2022. Other related moves by the company include withdrawing from the diesel model market, suspending the development of hydrogen-powered models, and accepting California’s emissions standards.Can this move allow Honda to catch up with the new energy vehicle force?

Honda held its “Electric Vision” event in Amsterdam at the end of October. At the event, the company said it is electrifying its entire product line, most of which will feature a hybrid system. But Tom Gardner, the company’s senior vice president for Europe, also said: “We will continue to bring pure electric products to the market.”

Given that European consumer demand for electric vehicles is growing, Honda will focus on developing its electric vehicle business there first. Gardner told the media that the market share of electric vehicles in the UK has increased from 2% in 2015 to the current 7% or 8%. “This market is starting to become more and more important.”

Emission regulation in Europe is also one of the main factors driving Honda’s determination to develop electric vehicles. “The rapid changes in regulatory policy, market conditions and consumer behavior in Europe mean that electrification is advancing faster here than anywhere else in the world,” Gardner said.

In addition to the Honda E, the company will launch a second electric vehicle, which is expected to debut in 2022. Currently, no more product-related information has been disclosed.

Two years to release two electric vehicles, this speed can not be said to be fast. But through these measures, Honda has conveyed a clear attitude: Like hybrid models, pure electric vehicles will also become one of the mainstream paths in the future.

Meanwhile, Honda’s diesel, hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrids will fade from view. Katsushi Inoue, president of Honda Europe, said: “Maybe hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will come, but it is a technology for the next era. Our current focus is on hybrid and pure electric vehicles.”

In the European market, plug-in hybrid and diesel models are also not in Honda’s plans. In September, Honda said it would phase out all diesel models by 2021.

Honda is also exploring charging solutions. At the event in Amsterdam, the company announced a partnership with leading European energy provider Vattenfall to tailor “flexible energy contracts” for electric vehicle users. Under the agreement, Vattenfall will install Honda’s 7.4 kW home chargers for electric vehicle owners and let them use it to manage charging time and usage.

The two parties will start offering the service in the UK and Germany in 2020, and will expand to other countries in the future. The service will also pave the way for vehicle-to-vehicle bidirectional charging (V2G) solutions.

It will be a few years before legal Honda EVs are available in the U.S. The Japanese automaker is said to be developing a modular EV platform that can be used in large rear- and all-wheel-drive vehicles and is suitable for US, expected to launch in the US in 2025.

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