The future of mobility is electric. That seems to be clear to almost every OEM. But what is not clear is how India will progress in that direction. Japanese major Honda has embarked on preparing its strategy for a future of electric mobility in India.
That strategy would include plug-in, hybrid, full electric and fuel-cell vehicles. However, it is seeking clarity on the road ahead, and therefore preparing for multiple possible scenarios. "We are preparing and thinking not only one scenario but multiple factors. We are analysing different pace of growth and the kind of response we will have to each growth scenario, we are working on it," Gaku Nakanishi, president and CEO, Honda Cars India told Autocar Professional.
Honda's 50V Lithium-Ion multi-purpose battery pack is being showcased to various audiences in India.
A few senior level R&D officials have come from Japan to study the electric mobility scenario in India and engineer solutions accordingly. In terms of the EV market growth, Honda, like some other OEMs is unclear about the growth rate of the EV market in India. Adequate charging infrastructure, advanced battery technology and affordability are the three key pillars for success of EVs, says Nakanishi. "When it comes to battery technology and availability of infrastructure, both are not in my hands. We need to collaborate with the government, battery companies for this," he adds.
Honda had first launched a hybrid – the Civic – way back in 2008. A high-price tag of over Rs 20 lakh for the sedan came as a big hurdle. The Civic was later discontinued. It currently sells the Accord hybrid. Honda has developed a swappable battery pack which can be used to power two-wheelers, small cars or even as a power source. That has been showcased in India with an intention to introduce in the market, if viable.
By 2030, Honda expects plug-in, hybrid, EV and fuel-cell models to contribute two-third of annual global sales. By then, electric vehicles are also expected to have a significant share in the automobile industry. "We as a company have the necessary technologies, and are ready to bring it when there is clarity in terms of which direction the market will move," says Rajesh Goel, senior VP and director - marketing & sales, Honda Cars India.