Honda announced its worldwide sustainable energy goals in a speech from president and CEO Toshihiro Mibe on April 23, 2021. As president of a company with an undeniably huge global presence, he had a lot to say about where the company is going and how it feels it can lead industry efforts in promoting shared environmental goals. After all, we all have to live here, right?
By 2050, Mibe said, Honda aims for complete, 100-percent carbon neutrality throughout all of Honda’s global products, as well as all of its corporate activities. The company is pursuing this goal on multiple fronts, including expanding its electric two- and four-wheeler options, as well as putting Honda Mobile Power Pack-type replaceable batteries into more vehicles.
Of course, you can’t have any type of global power source without adequate infrastructure to support it. Although Honda didn’t spell out exact details about how it plans to expand infrastructure around the world, it did mention that it’s definitely on the list. We look forward to learning more details about those plans further down the line, as we recognize there’s only so much you can cover in one wide-ranging, course-setting speech.
North America is very much a part of Honda’s plans, and Mibe specifically mentioned the benchmarks it plans to achieve to reach its 100 percent EV and fuel cell vehicle (FCV) goal by 2040. To start, by 2030, Honda aims to have 40 percent of vehicles sold in North America fall into those two categories, doubling to 80 percent by 2035. If it can build the kind of momentum that allows that five-year snowball to roll downhill, coasting from 80 percent to 100 percent over the five years between 2035 and 2040 seems relatively easy. These rough benchmarks are the same across global regions, although the steps Honda takes to get there in each market will, by necessity, be a bit different to suit each market.
Over in North America, Honda isn’t alone in this effort. It’s teamed up with GM to create two large four-wheeled EVs that will exclusively use the GM EV Ultium battery. These vehicles will be launched with Honda and Acura badges in 2024. Later in the decade, Honda will introduce its “e:architecture adoption model” in North America before rolling it out to the rest of the world.
Where does that leave motorcycles? There’s more than one way to push forward, so Honda is advancing on multiple fronts here, too. Biofuels, electrification, and also improving fuel efficiency of gasoline engines in the short-term are all items on the agenda. In markets that support strong two-wheeler electrification, Honda is pushing its mobile power pack adoption and infrastructure. Particular targets are business-to-business (delivery companies, for example), and business-to-government (government vehicles at all levels).
On the consumer end, that’s where Honda’s consortium deal with Yamaha, Piaggio, and KTM comes into play. Sharing a single swappable battery standard across vehicles will make it much easier for individual riders to make the switch. Honda is launching the GYRO:e and GYRO CANOPY:e in 2021, which are more business-oriented vehicles. By 2024, it plans to launch two more consumer-oriented electric scooters, and plans are underway for three more recreationally-oriented electric motorcycles, too.
Now, the motorcycle mention didn’t come with a specific year attached to it. Also, it’s not yet certain where any of these future vehicles may be sold in the world. Still, we look forward to finding out more and seeing this story unfold over time. We also look forward to riding some of these future vehicles, but we probably didn’t need to tell you that.