New Division In Honda Will Speed Up Electrification, Announce New Collaboration

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Plans to launch the first Honda scooter in India in 2024

Honda Motor Company revealed on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, that it would carve out a new division with the sole purpose of strengthening and speeding up its electrification business. This is part of the automaker’s drive to overhaul its organizational structure.

Honda has been on the back foot in the fast-growing electric vehicle market and hopes the reorganization will allow it to catch up with Tesla and BYD. Japanese automakers risk being left behind by their United States and European competitors in the EV market.

According to the company, the changes will come into effect on April 1, 2023. The new division will help to consolidate Honda’s electrification strategy in the development of automobiles, motorcycles, and power products like generators.

There are plans by the Japanese automaker to condense six of its current regional operations into three namely Europe, China and associated regions like Japan and the rest of Asia, and North America.

A Honda spokesperson said in a briefing that the merging of the regional operations into three was to “rapidly develop the implementation of resource shifts in accordance with the future lineup strategy in harmony with the electrification acceleration”.

Honda is targeting mid- to large-size vehicle trims in China and North America and small- to mid-size vehicle trims in other regions. In 2022, Honda unveiled plans for the launch of 30 EV models across the globe and make up to 2 million EVs every year by 2030.

Plans to launch the first Honda scooter in India in 2024

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), a subsidiary of Honda Motor Company with a focus on manufacturing two-wheelers, is making plans to launch its first electric scooter in India in March 2024. The upcoming scooter will be the pioneer in a long list of EVs on Honda’s lineup for the local market.

Honda made the announcement on Monday, January 23, 2023, during the launch of Activa 6G H-Smart, the latest in the company’s scooter trims. The H-Smart or Honda Smart technology has four key functions namely Smart Safe, Smart Start, Smart Unlock, and Smart Find.

Arguably the most impressive of the smart features is the Smart Safe which is intended to minimize or eliminate theft. This is coming at a time when the sale of electric two-wheelers, particularly scooters, has skyrocketed.

To further boost the uptake of its electric scooters, Atushi Ogata, the Managing Director, President, and CEO at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India disclosed that the company was making plans to build a charging infrastructure roadmap for India.

“We are aiming to launch the first model in March 2024,” Ogata said. “The development is on an entirely new platform that prioritizes the requirements of the Indian market.”

According to Ogata, the first model will have a fixed battery while the battery of the second model can be swapped. The company has about 6,000 outlets across India and plans to set up charging infrastructure in all of them for its EVs.

While the first model will launch in March 2024, there is no fixed timeline for the launch of the second model. However, Ogata is optimistic that the second model should be out in a short time span after the first model.

Just like on the global scene, Honda is playing catchup in India’s EV market which is currently led by Hero and newer entries like Okinawa and Ola Electric. However, Honda maintains dominance in the scooter division with 56% of the market share.

Honda reaches new high-output lithium-ion battery deal

Honda announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, that it has reached a basic agreement with GS Yuasa International that will see both companies collaborate for a high-capacity, high-output lithium-ion battery. Discussions on specific will happen at the end of the year with the goal of forming a joint venture.

“Honda is working hard to achieve carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities Honda is a part of by 2050,” said Toshihiro Mibe, the Director, President, and Representative Executive Officer of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. “Honda and GS Yuasa have been collaborating on lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles. This new partnership will further accelerate Honda’s electrification strategy.”

The proposed joint research by both companies is geared towards filling the gap in the growing demand for batteries. They are also looking at the possibility of developing a highly competitive battery production method and establishing a supply chain for vital raw materials.

Based on the initial agreement, the two companies will now push toward a broader collaboration scope in the following areas;

  • Research and development of high-capacity, high-output Li-ion batteries, particularly of use in EVs, and the necessary production method
  • Intellectual property establishment and management including patents related to the joint research and development
  • Planning for products that will use the technological products of the joint research and development, and planning for the required sales channels
  • Efficient production operation design including the supply of key raw materials

“In line with our corporate philosophy, ‘Innovation and Growth’, GS Yuasa has been surmounting challenges to create energy technologies while acquiring broad knowledge and technical know-how in batteries,” said Osamu Murao, the President and Representative Director of GS Yuasa International Ltd. “The new collaboration with Honda will contribute to further diffusion of EVs.”

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