Honda CEO cynical of electric cars: "EVs will not be mainstream"
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Australasia has been in a limbo of sorts regarding the cute, wildly popular Honda e, which debuted at this year's Frankfurt Auto Show.
While the little EV has garnered plenty of interest (Honda claims to have already received over 40,000 expressions of interest from potential owners, ahead of the vehicle's mid-2020 launch), it appears likely that New Zealand and Australia will miss out.
For what it's worth, Honda New Zealand is keen to see the e on our shores. But, “at present [it has] no information about the Honda e for New Zealand”.
Perhaps at least some of the e's lack of confirmation in this part of the world has to do with Japan's view of the emerging tech underneath the small hatch's bonnet.
While admittedly the Honda e is set for a debut in the Japanese market (as well as Europe of course), Honda CEO and president Takahiro Hachigo (pictured above with the Honda e) doesn't believe that EVs have what it takes to crack the mainstream market until infrastructure improves.
"I don't believe [EVs] will become mainstream anytime soon," Hachigo said in a recent interview with Automotive News.
Hachigo cites "issues with infrastructure and hardware" as part of why he doesn't forecast a "dramatic increase" in demand for electric vehicles — a stark contrast in message to the focus on EV development and production in China and across Europe.
The Honda CEO also chimed in on autonomous vehicles with similar hesitation. "You have to think about what the social demand is and what legal environment we have to operate in," he said. "Now is the time for us to ponder how we can introduce these services to the market."
For now, the closest thing to the Honda e that New Zealand is likely to get is the all-new Jazz. Unveiled late last month at the Tokyo Motor Show, electrified hybrid powertrains appear to be on the radar for markets like ours, given that every model at launch featured one.
Honda New Zealand haven't guaranteed the Jazz for our market, but it's expected to be a starter here.