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Honda CEO says new battery tech will cut EV costs

Honda’s incoming CEO Toshihiro Sanbe said that he plans to use new battery technology to reduce costs and develop more economical small electric vehicles.

Until then, Honda will continue to sell higher-priced, larger EVs. But Toshihiro Sanbe acknowledged that it was difficult to make plans because of the instability in the EV market.

Source: Pixabay


This week, Sanbu Minhong participated in the groundbreaking ceremony of a new lithium-ion battery factory costing US$4.4 billion (currently about 30.404 billion RMB) in Ohio, USA. He said in an interview that electric vehicles currently cost 40 percent more to manufacture than fuel-powered vehicles and that the new solid-state batteries will eventually make it easier to build them.

Honda is currently working with Sony on the development of electric vehicles. The company, which is looking to overtake rivals in electric vehicles, has also pledged to sell only electric vehicles by 2040.

“We realize that car prices are rising,” Sanbe said. “The electric car business is very dependent on battery costs, and we can try to control costs through technological advancement.”

The solid-state batteries that Honda is developing will replace the liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries with more stable materials such as ceramics. This can reduce the size and cost of battery packs, store more energy and prevent battery fires.

Honda isn’t the only company focused on developing solid-state batteries. Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, and Ford all have plans to develop solid-state batteries.

Honda has always been known for producing cheap and reliable cars. But Sanbe said the cost of bringing solid-state battery technology into production is high, so Honda needs to make sure the market is ready before moving ahead with the technology.

“It takes a lot of investment to produce this battery, so we have to judge the timing,” he said. “It’s very difficult.”

Mass adoption of solid-state battery technology may still be several years away, Sanbe said, and it is hard to tell when production will ramp up. Honda has its own solid-state battery development program and has partnerships with General Motors and LG Chem, he said.

Meanwhile, the first EVs from Honda will be larger and more expensive SUVs. The Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX, built on GM’s Ultium EV platform, will go on sale in 2024. The Prologue is similar in size to the Honda Passport fuel car, which starts at about $42,000 (Currently about 290,000 RMB).

Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst with market research firm Guidehouse Insights, said the Honda Prologue could be priced between $50,000 and $60,000. He said Honda will need to bring more electric vehicles to market to remain competitive in the U.S. and European markets.

Toshihiro Sanbe said that Honda initially needed to absorb production costs with high-priced models. After that, the company will consider developing small cars using its own electric vehicle platform from 2026 onwards. But an electric version of the Civic is still years away.

But in some markets, Honda will have to push the electric car business regardless of the cost. Toshihiro Sanbe said that both Europe and California plan to ban the sale of gasoline vehicles by 2035. The electrification of the Chinese auto market is also unstoppable. Honda plans to launch 10 electric vehicles in the Chinese market by 2028.

Toshihiro Sanbe believes that the US market is much more difficult because the local charging network is not good enough. “The charging infrastructure is not at the level that our customers need,” he said. “We have to take these issues into account when we are meeting our 2030 target of 40 percent electric vehicle sales. The electric vehicle market is not stable.”

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Stephen Cruise
Stephen Cruisehttps://www.techgoing.com
Stephen Cruise is a senior editor covering latest smartphones, EVs, PC gaming, console, and tech with 11 years of experience.

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