Honda to concentrate on hybrids in Asia-Pacific region

Honda will be placing a strong emphasis on hybrids as part of its 2030 Vision plan that was outlined in June. The automaker is targeting to have alternative fuel technology vehicles forming two-thirds of its sales globally by 2030, and hybrids and plug-in hybrids will form half of that composition.

Honda president and CEO Takahiro Hachigo said that out of the projected 65% green vehicle volume, hybrids and PHEVs are expected to contribute 50% of sales, with zero-emission/battery-operated EVs and hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles (FCV) making up the rest.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the primary push will come from hybrids. Speaking to reporters last month in Tokyo, Hachigo said that the technology is established, and it will be looking at promoting hybrids in the region. Hybrids currently account for 30% of the automaker’s domestic sales in Japan, and it has racked up cumulative sales of around 2.1 million hybrid vehicles since the tech’s introduction commercially.

He explained that though the automaker’s grand strategy for electrification will take different approaches (battery EVs, hybrids and FCVs), it would be difficult to deploy something like the Honda Clarity – which is available in all three forms – in the region, unless there was government subsidy or support.

Honda to concentrate on hybrids in Asia-Pacific region

However, he added that the situation may change as time progresses. “In principle, we want to focus on hybrids, but we will keep an eye out on the trends developing in respective regions and we will respond accordingly,” he stated.

Hachigo said that the move towards the alternative fuel front was a necessary one, and not simply a trend for automakers to follow. “Electrification is not a purpose in itself. Instead, the objective is to conserve resources, protect the earth’s environment and reduce CO2 emissions.”

He said the road to electrification had a number of challenges. “On our part, we think there are three. The first is technology, and how to establish these. The second is from a business perspective, as in how to reduce the cost (of production), and third, how to develop the infrastructure,” he explained.

“When it comes to developing technology and the issue of cost, this is something that requires our own effort, but when it comes to infrastructure development, we will need to collaborate with respective governments and regions,” he added.

Honda to concentrate on hybrids in Asia-Pacific region

The company was also looking at conserving energy consumption and reducing emissions as part of the green switch. Hachigo said the the automaker was not just addressing the products that it sells but also the production process and the logistics for the components that it was using to ensure it had a comprehensive enviromental policy in place.

“While the largest footprint is with our products, we are giving consideration to our production flow and process, and we have set targets for global factories, which we are working hard to achieve,” he said.

“For our production facilities worldwide, we are working to leverage the characteristics of the different sites and where possible, we are trying to generate power using renewable energy. Solar energy and wind power is already being used in some areas,” Hachigo added.

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