For everything the Japanese automakers are known for, one they are notoriously famous for is making safe bets in the industry. While this is sometimes seen as a lack of initiative, they seem to prefer seeing their competitors diving headfirst in trends. And if the innovation pays off in the long run, they challenge the competition with more reliable products.
So, when Honda suggested that consumers should be embracing electric cars now, it comes as an indication that this is what the Japanese automotive industry is doing.
One clear sign is the abundance of EVs from Japanese brands such as Nissan’s Leaf and e-Power system, Lexus’ first EV scheduled to be presented at the Guangzhou Motor Show later this month, as well as Toyota’s recent agreement with BYD. Honda, for its part, has its e:HEV on the hybrid CR-V. With these as precedent, it’s likely that more Japanese brands will pursue the EV market soon.
Tom Gardner, Honda’s senior vice president for Europe, shared his thoughts: “The electric car market started 2015 at about 2 percent (in the UK). It’s now looking like 7 percent or 8 percent. It’s beginning to be significant. We’ve seen the curve be quite exponential, and we’re watching it not just in our automotive brand, but in areas like our motorcycle brand as well,” Gardner said.
Asked about the company’s plans regarding FCEVs, other company executives were transparent in saying that while they are interested in the technology and putting it to use in cars, the lack of available infrastructure is what’s deterring their development of an FCEV model.
According to this statement, it looks like Honda will not be releasing a new FCEV anytime soon. This was supported by Honda Europe’’s president, Katsushi Inoue.
“Our focus is on hybrid and electric vehicles now. Maybe hydrogen fuel cell cars will come, but that’s a technology for the next era,” he said.
Taking this into consideration, it will be no surprise if Honda announces more electric and hybrid models for the next few model years whether in Europe, the United States, or Japan.