By the year 2030 two out of three Honda automobiles will be either a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric car, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
This stretch goal was expressed this week by Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo as part of overarching plans by the automaker long associated with fuel efficiency, but of late less convincing to hard-core plug-in advocates.
Currently, electrified vehicles account for about 5 percent of Honda’s sales, with most of that coming from hybrids. In addition, the second-generation Clarity fuel-cell vehicle will be available for lease in California and sale in Japan in March.
Hachigo said that hybrids and plug-in hybrids would make up about half of Honda’s sales in 2030, while EVs would account for about 15 percent.
Rival Toyota has made a similar promise, saying that almost all of its lineup will be electrified by 2050, but the company didn’t mention plug-in hybrids, instead focusing on fuel cells and hybrids. General Motors has said it aims to have 500,000 electrified models on the market by 2017.
In the short term, the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid sedan will be exported from Japan to North America starting later in 2016. That car will use an upgraded version of the 2015’s two-motor system, and there’s a chance it could achieve better than the 47 combined mpg of that car.
Following that and the introduction of the Clarity, Honda is promising to bring forth another fuel-cell vehicle, with a powertrain jointly developed with General Motors, by 2020 – right around the time that Toyota is expected to launch the next generation of the Mirai fuel-cell.
The Clarity platform will also host a plug-in hybrid, reportedly by 2018, and also a pure EV will be forthcoming.
Hachigo said Honda would “position plug-in hybrids at the core of electrification in the future,” meaning that pure EVs and regular hybrids won’t get as much focus.