The good news: global automakers are getting more serious about electrification, announcing numerous new models and planning massive investments. The bad news: the trend is increasingly bypassing the North American market, as many of the new EVs, including models from US automakers, are to be sold only in China or Europe.
Honda recently underlined this trend, announcing that it will sell only electric and hybrid vehicles in Europe beginning in 2022, three years earlier than previously planned. The move is a direct result of pro-EV regulations on the Continent. “The pace of change in regulation, the market, and consumer behavior in Europe means that the shift towards electrification is happening faster here than anywhere else,” said Honda Senior VP Tom Gardner.
The Japanese giant will launch six new electrified models in Europe over the next three years, including a dual-motor hybrid version of the Jazz (sold in the US and Japan as the Fit), which will go on sale next year.
Honda has mentioned no such plans for the US market. In fact, the Honda E, a new EV that was on display at the recent Tokyo Motor Show, will not be sold in the US. Honda E Project Manager Kohei Hitomi told Jalopnik that the company had originally planned to bring the electric hatchback to the US, but decided not to, because of low projected demand.
It’s only fair to point out that Honda’s decision may have as much to do with the E’s size as with its powertrain. We ‘mericans don’t cotton to little bitty cars, and automakers know it. VW never bothered to bring its e-up! across the pond, and so far it has no plans to sell the new ID.3 in the US either. The BMW i3 and smart’s line of nimble city cars move modest quantities here, but are top sellers in Europe.