Honda has some ambitious plans: It wants to sell nothing but electric vehicles in North America by 2040. It's basically the start of not just a new chapter but a whole new book for the Japanese automaker, and its first EV as part of this onslaught will carry quite the appropriate name.
Honda announced on Monday that it will launch the Honda Prologue electric SUV in the 2024 model year. Sister company Acura will launch a full-electric SUV in the 2024 calendar year, which means it should arrive just after the Prologue. Both will run on GM's Ultium battery technology, the fruit of a partnership that was first announced in 2018. According to an unconfirmed report from earlier this year, the Prologue might be built alongside GM's vehicles in Mexico, while the Acura variant may roll out from GM's plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
But Honda won't be relying on GM's partnership alone. The company is forging its own path ahead, too. In the latter half of the 2020s, Honda says it plans to launch multiple EVs on its own e:Architecture platform, which will build upon the company's experience with its twee Honda E, a sweet little electric hatchback that we (regrettably, but understandably) don't get in the US.
It's all part of Honda's 2040 goal to sell only electric vehicles -- not hybrids, not plug-in hybrids, but full-on electric cars. That's a high bar, and Honda plans on taking steps to gradually increase the level of electrification throughout its lineup. In the near term, this includes adding more hybrids within its core models. The company already builds several great core hybrid variants, like the Accord Hybrid and CR-V Hybrid.
Research and development will play a large part in making this happen, and Honda is making friends across the industry to push for more advancements. It's partnering with GM on battery co-development and hydrogen fuel-cell joint ventures, in addition to working with Hitachi on electric motor production and CATL on additional battery R&D. Honda also continues its work on solid-state batteries, aiming to create a demonstration line this year to test production feasibility, with the hope of having this new technology available by the end of the decade.
These moves are part of a larger set of targets laid out earlier this year by Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe, who wants the company to be completely carbon-neutral in both its products and corporate activities by 2050. Between now and then, the automaker wants 40% of its North American sales to comprise battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell EVs by 2030, rising to 80% by 2035 and eventually reaching 100% in 2040.