American Honda Motor has named its first battery electric vehicle (BEV) which will be sold in the US from 2024.
In a lengthy blog post, EVP Dave Gardner said: “We will be introducing a new series of BEVs coming in this decade. This will include both SUVs for both the Honda and Acura brands and we will share more about the Acura BEV in the future.
“Our first volume Honda BEV will be introduced in 2024, signaling the start of our transition to this technology and the name of this first model will signal its role: the Prologue.
“While I won’t provide a specific sales target for you, I will tell you that we are targeting annual volume roughly between our Passport and Pilot SUVs [US reports put this between 40,000 and 150,000 units]. And the Honda Prologue coming in 2024 is just the start.
“We have some sense of the unique purchase behaviors of consumers who will be buying their first BEV in 2024, and we have started preparing on the business side in North America for selling full EVs. Our dealers will be an integral part of the process, so we’ll be spending a lot of time with them to clarify roles and responsibilities, all aimed at providing the best experience possible for our customers.
“With the Prologue, our goal is to provide a highly competitive product with the functionality to meet the diverse needs of our customers and Honda’s role in co-development will ensure this class-leading experience.
“We’re taking what we believe is a smart approach to the start of volume EV sales, leveraging strategic partners to achieve scale and mitigate initial investment requirements. Here iN North America, General Motors is one of our strategic partners. Our relationship with GM includes: battery co-development, vehicle co-development, and a joint venture focused on the development and production of fuel cell technology for vehicles and other applications.”
Gardner noted Honda has a long history with electrified vehicles, from the EV Plus 25 years ago to America’s first hybrid and the industry’s first fuel cell vehicle in the hands of individual customers and, more recently, the Honda Clarity series.
“In the near term, our strategy is focused on introducing a higher percentage of hybrids in our core models. We’re making a committed effort to achieve higher volume, by making the hybrid variant the best grade of each model to give it stronger appeal.
“We know people who have a good experience with a hybrid are likely to buy a battery-electric vehicle (BEV). We have grown our sales of electrified vehicles in each of the past three years, with CR-V Hybrid leading the way to our best-ever HEV sales in each of the past three months.
“Why invest in hybrid vehicles? We believe it is the best pathway to a zero-emission future. We have vast experience and expertise in hybrid vehicle technology, which is something not every automaker can claim. In the near term, this will play a critical role in our continuing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from our product performance.
“Hybrid production in the U.S. also enables us to get our production network ready, including familiarization with EV components, including the battery unit and EV system utilised in three hybrid models we build in the US, (Accord, Insight and CR-V )..
“In the second half of this decade, our transition to electrification will continue with a series of EVs based on what we call our e:Architecture, with development being led by Honda.
“Moreover, to secure the high competitiveness of our EVs of the future, Honda is conducting independent research on solid-state batteries as the next generation batteries for EVs that will realise high capacity and low cost.
“As part of our ongoing effort in this area, we will undertake the verification of production technology using a demonstration line, starting this fiscal year. We will begin accelerating this research with an aim to make solid-state batteries available by the end of the decade.
“Together, these development efforts will take us toward Honda’s vision for carbon neutrality by 2050, with a plan to increase our sales of battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles to 40% of our volume by 2030, 80% by 2035, and to 100% of our vehicle sales by 2040.”