Honda Charges Up Its Electric Game With Joint Motor Company

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Following early technological success in the electric car field, Honda entered the 21st century with a newfound aim to place hybrid vehicles in the driveways of global carbuyers. While rival Toyota’s hybrids have garnered the most headlines and sales, no one can criticize Honda (CR-Z notwithstanding) for the continued refinement of its electrified powertrains. Just look at the most recent Accord Hybrid or Acura’s growing list of performance-oriented multi-motor products.

Still, as fully electric vehicles began emerging on the scene, Honda found itself lagging behind. The Clarity EV, an electric version of its second-generation fuel cell vehicle, arrives this summer with a paltry 80-mile range. However, we’re promised much more in the year ahead.

As it moves forward with its EV plans, Honda also wants to have a stake in the supply of EV components to automakers — namely, electric motors. As of today, Honda and partner Hitachi have a name for their joint venture: Hitachi Automotive Motor Systems Limited.

Following a joint agreement signed in March, each company has put up 5 billion yen ($44.1 million) towards the creation of the new business. Located on the premises of Hitachi’s existing Japanese automotive systems operation, Honda claims the facility is devoted to the “development, manufacture and sales of motors for electric vehicles.”

The automaker’s 49-percent share means Hitachi gets the naming glory.

“The new company will respond to the growing global demand from automakers for electric vehicle motors by developing competitive motors that combine the expertise of the two companies,” Honda stated in a news release this morning. It’s naturally assumed Honda’s product line will become a destination for the company’s motors.

When will Hitachi Automotive Motor Systems Limited produce its first marketable product? At this early point, there’s no word on timelines. Honda has set a goal for two-thirds of its fleet to offer alternative fuel propulsion by 2030, and has promised two new EVs for 2018 — one destined only for China, the other a global model. Presumably, the global model should possess a competitive range. These days, that means meeting the 200-plus-mile capability of the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt.

[Image: Honda]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Manic Manic on Jul 04, 2017

    Honda needs to fire their head-designer and every lower level designer who thinks cars like new Civic or that Clarity atrocity look great.

  • NeilM NeilM on Jul 06, 2017

    Because Honda brings its Formula 1 track record with hybrids to the table. /s

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.