Honda Officially Joins the Rest of the World in EV and Autonomous Development

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
honda officially joins the rest of the world in ev and autonomous development

Honda Motor Company finally expressed an interest in developing autonomous cars on Thursday, while also stating its intention to bring two new electric vehicles to market by 2018.

The Japanese automaker has been cautious in making tech-related promises, especially those that relate to self-driving models, even as many of its rivals wear their autonomous development efforts like a badge of honor.

We knew Honda was working on the technology, but any semblance of a goal-oriented timeline was absent prior to this week. As part of its “Vision 2030” strategy, the car manufacturer claims it will coordinate R&D, procurement, and manufacturing to minimize development costs as it branches out into the realm of self-driving and electric vehicles.

Last year, the automaker established a division exclusively tasked with developing electric vehicles. Honda’s previous assertion was that the real-world emission benefits of pure electrics didn’t justify their implementation, stating that the scope of automobile pollution extends beyond the particles that exit a tailpipe. That perspective, unusual for a car company, forced Honda to hold back on BEV development and focus on hydrogen power.

However, the whole world is pushing for electrics right now — even if few are scrambling to buy them. Whether or not Honda has changed its official stance on EVs, it’s going to change its product strategy to add two of them next year. One of the new electrics is reserved for sale in China while the other will be a global model. Light on details, the more worldly model will possess a high-density, lightweight battery designed for multiple applications. It is expected to first appear at the Frankfurt motor show in September and be a more capable BEV than the recent Clarity Electric.

Roughly two-thirds of the brands’ lineup is expected to be powered by alternatively fueled options by 2030.

Honda also announced plans to market a vehicle which can drive itself on highways by 2020, with a city-capable self-driving system arriving shortly thereafter.

“We will strive to achieve the technological establishment of Level 4 automated driving for personal car use by around 2025,” said Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo in a statement. “We are striving to provide our customers with a sense of confidence and trust by offering automated driving that will keep vehicles away from any dangerous situation and that will not make people around the vehicle feel unsafe.”

The automaker is already honing these systems. Honda showcased its progress at a media briefing at its Japan R&D center — an event which included test drives. The planned vehicles are likely to arrive a few years behind the competition, though Honda is not an automaker known for possessing a brazen attitude toward development. It’ll continue working hard on these projects and give you the keys to your autonomous EV when it feels ready — and not a moment sooner.

[Images: Honda]

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3 of 4 comments
  • Thelastdriver Thelastdriver on Jun 09, 2017

    Honda already had a perfectly good EV 20 years ago and crushed them all -- just like GM did. Look it up.

    • Stuki Stuki on Jun 09, 2017

      It may have been perfectly good, but it wasn't really good for anything. Nowadays, better batteries and accompanying infrastructure, allows BEVs a somewhat larger market for whom they are useful/optimal, than back then.

  • Stuki Stuki on Jun 09, 2017

    Interesting timeline, coming from Honda. I'll still believe it when I see it, as even those guys haven't really moved the ball too far in a genuinely practical direction with Asimo, after all these years.

  • Analoggrotto Does it include a date with Mary Barra?
  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.