Honda looks to future with EV and autonomous strategy

08 June 2017

Honda looks to future with EV and autonomous strategy

08 June 2017

Japanese manufacturer Honda has spelled out its plans for the future as it unveiled its mid-term Vision 2030 strategy plan. The company wants to develop level 4 autonomous cars for sale by 2025 and plans two new electric vehicles (EVs) by 2018.

The company has been investing in its research and development of future mobility, spending 750 billion yen (€6.1 billion) for the year to March 2017.

Speaking at the launch of its new strategy, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said: ‘We strive to electrify two-thirds of our global automobile unit sales in 2030. This development will put a central focus on hybrid-based models utilizing a high-efficiency plug-in hybrid system unique to Honda. As for zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), we will strengthen the development of electric vehicles as well as fuel cell vehicles (FCV), in addition to a China-exclusive model scheduled to go on sale in 2018, a dedicated EV model for other regions is also currently under development.’

Developing new driving technologies, robotics- and artificial intelligence-driven services and new energy solutions also would be key priorities for Honda in the years ahead, the company said.

In addition to the new low emission strategy, by 2025, Honda plans to come up with cars with level 4 standard automated driving functions, meaning they can drive themselves on highways and city roads under most situations. Achieving this will require artificial intelligence to detect traffic movements, along with a battery of cameras and sensors to help avoid accidents.

Hachigo adds: ‘By featuring smooth and natural driving characteristics, our automated driving vehicle will realise occupant comfort that gives the driver complete trust and provides a fun mobility that makes people naturally want to go driving. We are going to realise automated driving technologies for use on highways in 2020. Then, we will make them usable in a broader area including regular roads, by 2025.’

Honda has been a leading player in the development of hydrogen technology, yet has held back from developing fully electric vehicles. The news comes as China announces it is planning to relax new quotas for EVs sold in the country from 2018, which has led to the development of new models from some manufacturers, including Honda. In addition, a number of car makers are looking to launch and develop low-emission vehicle strategies over the next five years.

Photograph courtesy of Honda

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