Honda Charges Up Its Electric Game With Joint Motor Company
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.
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Because Honda brings its Formula 1 track record with hybrids to the table. /s