Honda’s first cars, like the Civic, were known for being cheap.
EVs have come along in the last few decades, but there is still no battery-electric car that can compete with the Civic. As Honda’s global CEO hinted at last week in a Q&A with Green Car Reports and other tech and car media at CES, the company doesn’t see how the two are related just yet.
Honda might need a big step forward in technology, like solid-state battery technology, before they can figure out how to make a small, cheap car work.
Through an interpreter, Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe said, “The cost of the battery is the same whether the car is expensive or not.”
Mibe said that Honda is thinking about using solid-state batteries in a $30,000 car because the cost of the batteries would go down, the range would go up, and the cooling system could be made easier to use. Otherwise, its spread will be harmed.
Need “breakthrough” battery tech for a Honda Civic EV?
“The benefit would be huge,” he said. “I believe we need a new type of technology to make small cars possible. Without it, it would be hard.”
Honda has been working on its all-solid-state battery technology. Last year, the company said it wanted to have a 50% lighter battery or a 50% higher energy efficiency per weight.
Shinji Aoyama, Senior Managing Executive Officer of Mibe, said that the company wants to make a cheap EV “very late in the 2020s.”
Since the Clarity Electric, Honda hasn’t had an EV in the U.S., but the 2024 Prologue SUV, which is a joint project with GM, will be here in a few months. It just recently said that it would no longer make the stylish Honda E in Europe. The car costs almost 40,000 euros and has a range of only 138 miles.
The CEO made it clear that the Honda Saloon and Space-Hub concepts shown at CES last week are based on a mid-large propulsion platform. However, the production Honda 0 Series EVs will be built on a range of smaller and bigger platforms.
There won’t be a Honda Accord or Civic EV any time soon.
Why don’t those cool ideas have Honda’s big brand names on them?
You shouldn’t think that any of Honda’s 0 Series cars will be like the Accord, Civic, Odyssey, or CR-V. Aoyama says that the company has been looking at Honda-brand EV sales for a few years and has decided that it would be harder for the company to just make EV versions of older models.
Aoyama made it clear that Acura is being treated differently, though. For its new Acura ZDX EV, Acura is bringing back a badge that was last used on a gasoline car. The 2024 Honda Civic Hybrid, on the other hand, is one of the cars that Honda is currently switching to hybrid power.
Honda and GM said they would work together to make affordable electric vehicles (EVs) in April 2022, but that relationship ended in October. “After doing some research, we concluded that it would be very hard to make the business work,” Mibe said.
GM has changed its plans for the next version of the Bolt EUV, which will come out in 2025. This new plan includes LFP battery technology and other important technologies from GM’s Ultium propulsion suite. With the expected $7,500 EV tax credit, GM has already set the starting price for the Chevy Equinox EV at $34,995. This means that the Bolt EUV will probably start below $27,500. Honda has nothing to do with that plan.