Honda is stepping up focus on expanding its EV portfolio, as part of its goal to become carbon neutral by 2050
In the initial phase of its EV roadmap, Honda will be launching at least 10 electric two-wheelers globally by 2025. EV sales target is set at one million units by 2027. By the end of this decade, Honda EV sales will be around 3.5 million units.
However, ICE-based models will continue to be the mainstay for Honda in this decade. By 2030, EV sales will contribute just around 15% of Honda’s total sales. Making a complete shift to electric is a ginormous task that needs to be executed in a planned, phased manner.
Honda new electric bikes unveiled
Honda has showcased some of its new electric bikes, which include Cub e, Dax e and Zoomer e. These are based on their respective petrol-powered counterparts. China is the first market to get these new e-bikes. Honda’s initial EV strategy seems similar to that of other OEMs, wherein existing petrol-powered machines are being fitted with electric powertrains. This approach is being preferred, as it saves development costs and reduces time-to-market.
Honda’s electric cubs look super cute, which makes them an appropriate choice for Gen Z. There’s greater acceptance for EVs among the young generation and Honda is ensuring that multiple options are available. Honda’s new e-bikes have a minimalistic design and are built for utility. These are best suited for short sprints across city streets.
In many global markets, Honda’s new entry-level electric bikes may not require a driving licence. That’s because top speed is limited to 15 mph (approx. 24 kmph). Range will apparently be less in comparison to standard electric bikes, but it won’t be a problem with options like fast charging and battery swapping.
Moreover, Cub e, Dax e and Zoomer e are all equipped with pedals. Even if the batteries run out for any reason or in case of other malfunction, the bikes can be used as a bicycle. Their lightweight profile ensures that users won’t have to huff and puff to run them on human power. The idea is pretty similar to Kinetic Luna that also had pedals for emergency use.
Honda EV plans for India
It is not certain if Honda electric cubs will be launched in India. Instead of experimenting, Honda appears to have taken a safer approach for Indian market. Honda’s first electric two-wheeler for India will be Activa Electric that is planned for launch in January 2024. This has been confirmed by Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) MD and CEO Atsushi Ogata.
Activa electric scooter will have a top speed of 50 kmph. This is quite less in comparison to current industry average of around 80-100 kmph. Range of Activa electric has not been disclosed, but it should be enough for everyday needs.
After Activa electric, which is essentially a retrofit project, Honda will launch its first born-electric bike in India. It will come with all the bells and whistles, as expected from a modern electric scooter. Honda is most likely to offer swappable battery tech to eliminate the hassles of range anxiety. The company will be targeting increased localization, so that their electric scooters could be launched at a competitive price point.