While the Honda Fit EV certainly hit the headlines just a few days ago with serious supply issues due to increased demand, there is speculation that Honda is looking to hedge its bets with regards the future of car travel. The company has this week announced a joint venture with General Motors, which will see both companies sharing resources and intellectual properties with regards to hydrogen cell fuel technology. So is Honda hedging its bets or has it ditched the electric vehicle market for the next generation?
Hybrids could be a stepping stone
As we have mentioned before, there is a train of thought in the electric vehicle market that due to resistance from some motorists, hybrids could be a very useful stepping stone to full electric vehicles in the future. Hybrids have been around for many years now and the general motoring public certainly seem very at ease with this type of technology. Honda, along with other car manufacturers, has made a great name for itself in the hybrid market and continues to roll out updated vehicles and new ranges.
The comments over the years coming out of Honda have been mixed to say the least, flipping between optimism for the electric vehicle market and focus on the hybrid market, with hydrogen cell fuel technology always in the background. Which way will the company fall?
Has Honda misjudged the electric car market?
While there's no doubt that electric cars are more popular today than they ever have been in their long history, they are not as yet on the verge of breaking into the mass-market. While not "there" as yet there is no doubt that the motoring public is now more likely to even consider an electric vehicle than ever before; we are perhaps on the verge of something big in the electric vehicle battery sector and governments around the world are investing billions of dollars into the industry.
Has Honda left it too late?
Quote from ElectricForum : "Good news for the EV industry! It seems that demand for the Honda Fit EV has even taken the company by surprise - there is a shortage of the vehicles in the US. The good news is that more are on the way - is this a sign that EVs are becoming more popular?"
The truth is that there is still more than enough time for Honda to make a large-scale entry into the electric vehicle market. We are still potentially five years away, or more, from mass-market appeal, which should give companies such as Honda time to catch up if they feel they have missed the boat. Whether the company believes electric vehicles will be the future there is no doubt that the motoring public are now more switched on to this particular mode of transport than ever before.
Hydrogen cell fuel vehicles have been on the agenda for many years although this is a technology which has been even slower to develop than electric vehicle technology. The recent partnership agreement with General Motors looks interesting, with the two heavyweights working together, but at best both companies admit it will be 2020 before they have a workable prototype available. What do they do in the meantime?
Seven years is a relatively short space of time in the car market but if the electric vehicle sector was to take off, and momentum was to continue building, Honda may well have to rethink its short to medium-term plans.