Honda has been slow to follow larger rivals, from Volkswagen to General Motors Co., in committing billions of dollars to developing and building EVs and batteries. Now it plans to invest at least $40 billion through 2030, with the goal of pushing hybrid and fully electric vehicles to 40 percent of its sales by decade’s end.
Those investments include a $3.5 billion joint venture to build batteries with LG Energy Solution in nearby Jeffersonville, Ohio, starting in 2025, for use in Honda’s future EV factories in North America.
Before then, Honda in 2024 will get two new electric crossovers, the Honda Prologue and the Acura ZDX, from GM’s Spring Hills factory in Tennessee.
In certain markets, Honda has to push ahead with EVs regardless of cost. Mibe said Europe and California have plans to ban new internal combustion vehicles by 2035, and in China heavy incentives make electrification a requirement. The company plans 10 electric models there by 2028.
Mibe said in an interview with Bloomberg News that a different battery technology — solid-state batteries — will eventually help make EVs, which can cost 40 percent more to build than fuel-powered cars, more accessible.
Lithium ion batteries use a liquid electrolyte to conduct electricity between the cathode and anode. The solid-state batteries Honda is working on would replace that liquid with more stable materials, like ceramics. That could reduce the size and cost of the battery pack and store more energy. It could also help prevent fires.
Honda is far from alone in pursuing a solid-state battery strategy. In fact, it is arguably lagging behind better-resourced peers like Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor Co. Other carmakers with solid-state ambitions include GM and Ford Motor Co.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.