Editor's note: A headline and subheadline on an earlier version of this story misstated Dave Gardner's title.
Dave Gardner, executive vice president for business and sales at American Honda Motor Co., is tasked with shifting 800,000 Honda and Acura new-vehicle sales to electric vehicles in the next eight years. Globally, the company hopes to phase out the internal combustion engine by 2040 and transform itself into a carbon-neutral entity by 2050. Considering that Honda is the world's largest maker of internal combustion engines, the mission is daunting.
But Gardner says that, despite the industry instability caused by supply chain problems and the never-ending microchip shortage, Honda's path to electrification in North America is clear. It starts with turning up the hybrid mix of its high-volume vehicles and the introduction of the Prologue electric compact crossover, the company's first volume EV, built with rival-turned-partner General Motors. Honda also will build its own all-electric vehicles on what it's calling its e:Architecture, and continue its work with GM to roll out large volumes of affordable EVs in 2027.
Gardner, 62, spoke with Staff Reporter Carly Schaffner about making the leap to electric, believing in sedans in a crossover-crazy market and why operating in a leaner inventory environment is a better way to do business. Here are edited excerpts.