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Honda’s electric move starts with sparked-up Kapchai

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 25 February 2016

HONDA has officially shifted its long term focus with chief executive Takahiro Hachigo announcing at a Tokyo press conference on Wednesday the company wanted partially or fully electric cars to account for two-thirds of its global sales by 2030.

And among the new wave of Honda electric vehicle offerings will be a battery-powered “kapchai” to be introduced in the main ASEAN countries, including Malaysia, which is its largest regional market for the evergreen Cub series.

Hachigo said the EV-CUB concept bike (below) shown in Tokyo last year will go into production in about two years’ time.

“We are planning to introduce the EV-CUB, a mass-production model developed based on the EV-CUB Concept electric motorcycle, to the Japanese market about two years from now and then subsequently in main ASEAN countries, which have been the largest market for the Honda Cub Series.

EV-Cub Concept

“Building on the Cub models, which have taken deep root in people’s everyday lives, we will strive to popularise the EV and reduce CO2 emissions.”

Vehicles with electrified powertrains account for about 5 percent of Honda’s sales today, most of them gas-electric hybrids.

Honda will begin sales in Japan of the Clarity Fuel Cell in March 2016. The next-generation fuel cell system which is being developed jointly with General Motors will move on to the next stage that includes production and purchasing, aiming at a product launch around 2020.

Hachigo said hybrids and plug-ins would likely account for about half of Honda’s sales in 2030, while the other electric vehicles would take 15 percent.

Hachigo said he would shake up development teams to include a person in charge of the design and driving feel of each model.

“People working on production and development have been facing increased hours and workload because we pursued speed and scale that went beyond our capabilities,” he said. “We want to focus our development resources for electrification.”

hachi

Earlier this week, Hachigo (left) shuffled senior management, naming a new No. 2 as well as Honda’s first female operating officer.

Honda isn’t the only one setting out electrification targets. Yamaha has announced it will produce an electric bike too and Toyota said last year that by 2050, gas-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel-cell cars and electric vehicles would account for most global sales.

Hachigo said Honda will strengthen production and sales of regional models in each region to accommodate local needs.

In China, production will be expanded along with the introduction of key new models such as a large-sized SUV which is scheduled to be announced this year under the Honda brand and an all-new Acura compact SUV.

Images: Honda

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