Honda has plans to sell two all-electric SUVs in the U.S. for the 2024 model year, and it soon will offer hybrid gas-electric versions of its top-selling models.
The announcements Thursday come as the automaker acknowledges it has work to do to comply with emissions-reduction targets that will be coming from the Biden administration, and a California ban on sales of new internal-combustion vehicles by 2035.
Honda of America sales chief Dave Gardner told reporters one of the electric SUVs will be from the Honda brand, while the other will be an Acura. Honda will offer more details later this year, he said.
Underpinnings of the new vehicles will come from a partnership with General Motors, while the tops would be made by Honda, he said.
As part of Honda's efforts to meet stricter emissions standards, it will reduce emissions from its internal combustion vehicles, Gardner said. Already the company has a hybrid called the Insight, as well as hybrid versions of its Accord midsize car, CR-V small SUV. Gardner said there will probably be one or two additions that he would not identify.
He conceded that Honda isn't leading the race to electric vehicles and wouldn't say when it will go all-electric. Honda is focused on being carbon-neutral by 2050 and is aware that President Joe Biden is focused on zero emissions, not just reducing them, he said.
“We've got to now focus all of our energies in this direction in order to meet timelines,” he said.
Honda has been a dominant passenger-car seller for decades but U.S. buyers are shifting toward SUVs and trucks. And it's also a large manufacturer of internal combustion engines, Gardner said.
“We're really good at a couple of things that seem to be going out of vogue today, so there's no doubt that we have work to start moving quickly in the zero-emission direction,” he said.
Honda is the latest automaker to announce battery-powered vehicles that will be sold in the U.S. market. The consulting firm LMC Automotive says automakers will roll out 22 new electric vehicles this year alone.
Last year Americans bought about 260,000 vehicles, only 2% of new vehicle sales. But LMC expects the number to hit more than 680,000 in 2022, passing a million in 2023.