Honda To Launch Dedicated EV This Year, Deliver Level 4 Autonomous Vehicles In 2025

Honda is trying to catch up with it competitors, announcing plans to reveal its first dedicated electric vehicle by the end of 2017 and introduce self-driving vehicles by 2025. Honda has been working tirelessly to revamp its automobile line and increase its popularity among buyers.
Honda NSX
Seven and a half years feels like quite a ways off, however, Honda appears to be starting from scratch with autonomous vehicles. Honda Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo noted, “We are not concerned about plans of Nissan or other car-makers. We set the 2025 target because if we don’t set a plan, it will be very unclear for our R&D staff to know what they should do by when.” Nissan, Ford, and Volvo plan to release self-autonomous vehicles by 2021. Major automakers are already quite behind companies such as Google’s Waymo, Uber, and Tesla.

Hachigo remarked this past week in Tochigi, Japan, “We identified the introduction of electrification technologies and advanced safety technologies as our highest priorities and we are working proactively on them. The speed of evolution in these areas has been accelerating and we need to solidify our initiatives.”

Why is Honda so late to the electric and self-driving vehicle game? Like Toyota, Honda hoped that fuel-cell vehicles would prove to be the “ultimate eco-car”. Battery-powered vehicles have instead proven to be the top contender. One million electric vehicles were sold this year, an eightfold increase over the past five years.

honda 2017 clarity
Honda's fuel cell vehicle, the 2017 Clarity

Takahiro Hachigo became Honda’s CEO two years ago and has since worked on restructuring the business and improving the quality of its products. Honda just established an EV division this past October. The company plans to introduce plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles to the Clarity line in the United States by the end of this year. Honda has also promised to release a electric vehicle that will be exclusive to China next year.