Fifteen years is a short time in the life of the auto industry, just two complete product cycles for the average high-volume vehicle. But by “around 2030,” according to Honda’s CEO, his company will “strive” to make fully two-thirds of its cars electrified in some way–including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery-electric, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
It’s an audacious and ambitious goal, though other makers may well have similar plans that they have not publicly disclosed. Last year, Toyota–the world’s largest carmaker–said that virtually all of its sales would be hybrids or fuel-cell vehicles by 2050, but Honda’s goal includes vehicles with plugs, which Toyota conspicuously didn’t mention.
The remarks came from Honda president & CEO Takahiro Hachigo at a press conference, held earlier this morning (Japanese time). In it, he spent the bulk of his time on parts of the company’s future product roadmap and its plans for allocating manufacturing around the world and reorganizing its management structure. The company plans to keep its Japanese production at the current level of about 950,000 vehicles, he said, enabling those plants to serve as the “mother” system for Honda’s global production methods.
The section on green cars came toward the end of Hachigo’s remarks. Specifically, Hachigo said that 2017 Accord Hybrid sedans will be exported from Japan to North America starting later this year. Honda has said the next Accord Hybrid will use an improved two-motor hybrid system, perhaps returning even higher fuel-economy ratings than the 2014-2015 version’s 47 mpg combined.
The 2017 Honda Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell five-passenger sedan will go on sale in Japan starting next month. And, Hachigo said, a next-generation fuel-cell system that Honda and General Motors are jointly developing should go on sale in about 2020.
That’s roughly the same time the next generation of the Toyota Mirai fuel-cell sedan is expected to be launched. The Clarity’s electric-drive platform will also spawn a full battery-electric model and, later, a gasoline plug-in hybrid version as well. While Hachigo did not directly mention those cars today, he did say the company will introduce an “all-new plug-in hybrid vehicle” to North America by 2018.
Honda’s approach will “position plug-in hybrids at the core of electrification in the future,” according to the CEO, meaning that the company is likely to offer only a single battery-electric model in the near future. The company said it will launch the EV-Cub, a mass-production electric motorcycle, in Japan about two years hence. It will then be offered in other Asian countries, the main market for the company’s longstanding line of gasoline-powered Cub motorcycles.
More from Internet Brands Automotive: