Honda to develop three new EV platforms to meet its goal by 2030

Honda to develop three new EV platforms to meet its goal by 2030. (Photo by WANG Zhao / AFP)

Honda to develop three new EV platforms to meet its goal by 2030

  • To meet its goal of building two million electric vehicles by 2030, Honda is developing three new EV dedicated platforms.
  • One of the platforms will be jointly developed with US partner General Motors Co.

As opposed to other auto manufacturers, Honda has a rather conservative EV goal–to have an only-electric vehicle (EV) lineup by 2040. The aim for now is to have 30 new EV models by 2030, with a production volume goal of more than two million vehicles a year. To achieve that, the Japanese automaker said it is working on three new EV platforms, one of which would be with its long-time US partner General Motors Co.

The new EV models aimed by the end of this decade would consist of small, medium and large EVs. Honda’s global head of electrification Shinji Aoyama told Reuters last week that for starters, the firm will introduce an electric mini commercial vehicle in Japan in 2024, built on its new small EV platform.

It will then be followed by a full-size electric model in North America in 2026, which will be built on its new large platform. Both large and small platforms will also be used for other of Honda’s models. On the other hand, the third platform, which Aoyama described as “medium size”, will be shared with General Motors, starting in 2027. “Whether they will be based on Honda’s architecture or on GM’s platform has not been decided,” Aoyama said.

The collaboration between Honda and the US auto giant were set in early April this year when both automakers said they would jointly develop “affordable EVs” for global markets. The few details known so far are that those vehicles should hit North America by 2027 and that the partnership centers around using GM’s Ultium EV platform and both automakers’ robust manufacturing capabilities.

While the goal is to deliver affordable and desirable EVs on a global scale, it would especially focus on both automaker’s key markets in North America, South America and China. For now, Aoyoma said Honda is targeting North American production of 750,000-800,000 EVs in 2030, and about the same in China, with another 400,000-500,000 in Japan and other markets.

As it is, both automakers have a history of working together, with several projects in recent years focused on electric and autonomous vehicle technologies. In 2013, the two companies began working together on the co-development of a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies.  

Then in 2018, Honda joined GM’s EV battery module development efforts. In 2020, GM and Honda announced plans to develop two EVs, including the Honda Prologue, to be launched in early 2024, soon followed by Acura’s first EV SUV. Further, the companies have an ongoing relationship with Cruise and are working together on the development of the Cruise Origin, one of the first purpose-built fully autonomous vehicles designed for driverless ride-hail and delivery.

So far, for the affordable EVs, Aoyama noted that they “have not decided which plants (or) what will be produced. But we are going to share the bill of process” for manufacturing “to enable the cars to be produced at either Honda or GM plants,” he added. GM is also building two premium electric SUVs for Honda in North America, starting in 2024, based on the dedicated EV platform that underpins GM’s Cadillac Lyriq. 

The Japanese carmaker, Honda, is still one of the first manufacturers to announce that it would be discontinuing the internal combustion engine from its global offering for good. Besides GM, Honda also announced a rather unexpected collaboration with Sony, to develop electric cars under a new company.

The new company–unnamed for now–aims to begin sales of its first EV in 2025, tapping the strengths of each partner for a new range of all-EV lineup that will be built on Honda production lines. More details on this collaboration is expected to be ironed out sometime this year.