MARYSVILLE, Ohio - Honda Motor Co. is moving rapidly to catch up with electric-vehicle competitors in global markets, but the company's top executive said combustion engines could last through 2040 and beyond.
Regarding the Japanese automaker's accelerating transition to EVs, Chief Executive Toshihiro Mibe said, “I’ve been in the engine development business for more than 30 years, so personally it’s a little threatening. But I have to separate my own feelings from what is best for the business.”
That includes the establishment next month of a standalone business unit to oversee development of Honda's EV and battery business, which eventually could include an investment in charging stations, similar to Tesla Inc.'s Supercharger network, Mibe said in Marysville, Ohio, at the hub of the company’s U.S. operations.
"The charging infrastructure is not at a place that it needs to be for our customers,” he said.
Mibe added that Honda is running feasibility studies on everything from chargers and advanced batteries to aerial vehicles and rockets, as well as new low-carbon e-fuels that could help keep combustion engines around - in performance cars, big trucks and airplanes - for another decade or two.
But Mibe added, “as we move toward carbon neutrality, we are focused on electrification and fuel cells - those are the two core components of future mobility.”
Mibe confirmed that Honda is developing its own EV architectures, the first of which will arrive in the U.S. in 2026, as well as advanced batteries of its own design for some of those future models.