Red-blooded Americans were disappointed at Honda’s announcement that its new Honda E city car will not be coming to the US, but we have to compliment the company on its electrifying plans for the European market.
The E is scheduled to go on sale on the Continent in summer 2020 with a $33,000 price tag, and the automaker says it’s working on a second EV to be launched in 2022. At the recent Electric Vision event in Amsterdam, the company outlined plans to electrify its entire product line with hybrid variants. Senior VP Tom Gardner also said, “We will bring further battery-electric products to the market.”
Honda has good reasons to focus its EV efforts on Europe: increasing demand; tightening emissions regulations; and fossil fuel bans in a growing number of cities.
“The electric car market started in 2015 at about 2% [of total UK car sales]. It’s now looking like 7% or 8%; it’s beginning to be significant,” Gardner told Driving.co.uk. “The pace of change in regulation, the market, and consumer behavior in Europe means that the shift toward electrification is happening faster here than anywhere else in the world.”
The automaker is also swearing off diesel and hydrogen. In September, Honda said it would phase out diesel cars by 2021. And Honda Europe President Katsushi Inoue recently said, “Maybe hydrogen fuel cell cars will come, but that’s a technology for the next era. Our focus is on hybrid and electric vehicles now.”
While Honda may be leaving us out of its electric plans for now, it is playing a constructive role in the US market. The Japanese automaker joined BMW, Ford and Volkswagen in striking a compromise with California that will see emissions standards gradually increase, unlike GM, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler, which sided with the Trump administration’s plans to freeze standards.