(This story has been updated with additional information gleaned from a press conference, including the type of vehicle that could be produced, its capabilities and costs, etc.)
Honda and General Motors today unveiled a plan to jointly develop a “series” of electric vehicles based on GM’s Ultium battery technology, with the first of these shared vehicles expected to arrive in 2027.
The two automakers have engaged in a series of agreements over the past few years for alternative fuel vehicle technology, such as fuel cells, batteries and, now, full-battery electric vehicles.
Unsurprisingly, the companies said in a joint statement that they will continue to look for ways to collaborate on future technologies that “will reduce the cost of electrification, improve performance and promote the durability of future vehicles.”
The goal of the current agreement is to create electric vehicles in a variety of popular segments that are currently underserved with affordable options: the current average price of a new vehicle exceeds $45,000 and that number is higher for electric vehicles, even with tax credits.
The first vehicle to come is likely to be a compact crossover, as both sides note it’s the largest in the world with annual sales of around 13 million vehicles. Toyota’s Rick Schostek, executive vice president of corporate operations at American Honda, declined to elaborate on the type of vehicle to come.
However, Ken Morris, executive vice president of electric, autonomous and fuel cell programs at GM, said the automaker is planning a vehicle that “falls below” the recently announced 2024 Chevy Equinox EV with a price tag of around $30,000. He said it would be physically smaller and cheaper, although he didn’t provide any details beyond that point.
Moving towards common goals
The two executives agreed that the offerings resulting from the new transaction would be focused on the wants and needs of customers and dealers. One of the “wants” some might focus on would include self-driving capability, which GM and Honda have already collaborated on, but either GM or Honda’s vehicle is unlikely to feature. of this technology at launch, the two partners agreed.
Along with new electric vehicles, the two companies are also looking to expand their collaboration on battery technologies, especially anything that will help lower the cost of electric vehicle batteries.
GM is already working to accelerate new technologies such as lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries, as well as production methods that can quickly be used to improve and update manufacturing processes. battery cells.
Honda is making progress on its all-solid-state battery technology, which the company sees as the backbone of future electric vehicles. Honda has established a demonstration line in Japan for solid-state batteries and is still moving towards mass production.
Carbon neutrality objectives
This decision also helps each automaker to move closer to its carbon neutrality goals.
“Honda is committed to achieving its goal of global carbon neutrality by 2050, which requires reducing the cost of electric vehicles to make electric vehicle ownership possible for as many customers as possible,” said Toshihiro Mibe, president and CEO of Honda, in a statement. “Honda and GM will build on our successful technology collaboration to help achieve a dramatic expansion in electric vehicle sales.”
GM is also working toward carbon neutrality, aiming to hit the mark by 2040, including eliminating tailpipe emissions by 2035.
“GM and Honda will share our best technology, design and manufacturing strategies to deliver affordable and desirable electric vehicles globally, including our key markets in North America, South America and China” , GM President and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.
“This is a key step in delivering on our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in our global products and operations by 2040 and to eliminate tailpipe emissions from light-duty vehicles in the United States by 2035. working together, we’ll get people all over the world into electric vehicles faster than either company could on its own.”