As India moves towards an era of electric mobility powered by the government's vision, OEMs are getting busier in charting out their strategies with regard to electric vehicles and allied infrastructure and services. The R&D team at Honda Cars India is also busier these days for the same reason.
Honda has already showcased two electric car concepts – a city car and a sporty car – in motor shows last year. The commercial launch of the city car is expected to happen by 2020 in Europe and Japan. Honda's entry into the Indian EV space could happen soon thereafter.
A challenge to Honda's R&D and product planning teams in India is to configure a model that will be affordable in the price-sensitive Indian market. A company official says that the price sensitivity is felt more in the hatchback segment. The lukewarm sales performance of the Brio hatchback is an example. In such a scenario, offering an affordable electric small hatchback becomes even more challenging. Therefore, Honda could choose a bigger vehicle to go electric with, in India.
Even as deliberations for an EV take place at Honda, a feasibility study has begun for the Japanese OEM's 'Mobile Power Pack', which is a lithium-ion battery designed for usage in multiple applications. The compact battery can be used to power an electric car, scooter or just as an energy source in a camp or home. A charging module has also been developed where the user can swap the discharged battery with a fully charged one.
There's also a portable unit like a power generator. This unit can charge the battery and then power devices from the charged battery. The 300 x 180 x 160mm 1kWh battery weighs around 10kg. Honda showcased these concepts for the first in India at iTEC India 2017. Prior to India, Honda started feasibility its study in the ASEAN region primarily in Indonesia and Philippines.