Currently reading: Honda calls on government to support hybrids, reduce EV focus
Honda Europe senior vice president claims EVs are “not a silver bullet” and ICE engine should not be completely replaced by 2035
3 mins read
13 October 2020

Honda has called on the UK government to reduce its singular focus on electric cars and recognise the “important role” played by the latest hybrid models. 

In a sponsored post on the Conservative Home blog - presumably targeted with the hope of it being read by government figures - Honda Europe’s senior Vice President, Ian Howells, said a “multi-pathway approach” is needed to ensure the UK can progress to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. 

Howells calls for an approach “in which a broad range of technologies are used to deliver CO2 reductions quickly and effectively, while ensuring that personal mobility remains affordable and accessible to all. This is vital to the Government’s levelling up agenda and underpinning the fundamental principle of personal choice”.

He also states that Honda’s intention to also achieve carbon neutrality globally will see a mixture of battery electric models, hybrids and “in time” hydrogen and decarbonised liquid fuels to ensure options are available across a broad spectrum of the market. 

While acknowledging pure EVs will play a “significant role” in this approach with significant benefits to consumers, Howells claims they “are not a silver bullet”. 

“Challenges around affordability, infrastructure and technology limitations mean that the government cannot rely solely on electric vehicles to completely replace internal combustion engines by 2035, if it does not also intend to restrict consumer choice.

“An approach that relies only on expensive electric cars risks turning driving into a privilege only afforded to the wealthy, while pricing those who most need it out of personal mobility”. 

Howells cites the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre, which predicts that cost parity between EVs and petrol cars will not be reached by 2035 - with larger models and SUVs taking far longer. Further claims by the senior Honda executive include a charging infrastructure that is “unevenly spread across the country” causing inequalities in less well served areas such as the Midlands and the North, and limited off-street parking. 

Howells even claims that there are “not enough raw materials for a full shift to battery electric cars” citing limits on global cobalt supply. He also states that lithium-ion battery tech is “reaching the limits of power and performance” because simply installing larger batteries incurs weight and cost penalties. 

Honda has recently launched its first electric series production car, the E, which has a relatively modest claimed EV range of 125 miles. However, the firm also has the also-new (and more affordable) Jazz, which has moved to hybrid-only propulsion and is said to emit 30% less CO2 than its non-hybrid predecessor. Howells claims that “there remains scope for significant ongoing emission reductions” as hybrid tech evolves further. 


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Howells also cites the development of decarbonised liquid fuels, produced from renewable energy sources, as one which could reduce the CO2 produced by hybrids significantly in future.  


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13 October 2020

If you are worried about affordability and cars for the normal folk then why have you just hiked the price of the recently launched Jazz, your entry level supermini, by up to £800? It's only been on the market a few weeks!

13 October 2020

we failed, all we have is an over priced, under ranged super mini bev. Perhaps if you had some sort foresight Mr Honda you would not have wasted so much R and D on the Hydrogen Clarity but instead come up with the equivalent Leaf, Zoe, id3, Model 3, Niro, Corsa, etc.   


13 October 2020

I love the way car manufacturers completely ignore the used market when making these arguments. Suck it up Honda - or crack on and make an affordable EV. 

13 October 2020
Perhaps their opinion would hold more weight if said hybrids were built in Swindon instead of closing their UK manufacturing.

However, I agree with the sentiment that hybrids are part of the solution of lowering co2 output and whilst they aren't cheap they are far cheaper than full EVs and more useable to more people.

13 October 2020

They have a s cheek I would not touch honda anyway,had an Accird in the 90.s and was srap

13 October 2020

You may be right about hybrids being cheaper and more usable for now, but what about in 15 years (or even 5 years)? 

13 October 2020

We're not going to make the jump from combustion engine cars to EVs overnight for obvious reasons. But in the meantime "proper" hybrids and plug ins (when plugged in) of the type sold by BMW, Toyota, Honda, Kia etc do offer significant efficiency gains over non-hybrids. So I think their adoption should be encouraged, at least as an interim step towards full EVs.

But clearly if there is support, then it needs to be proportionate to the the type of hybrid sold. A plug in hybrid with significant battery capacity, or "full hybrid" such as the Honda Jazz or CR-V is considerably more beneficial than some of the simpler 48-volt (or even 12v) mild hybrids now being widely adpoted.         

13 October 2020

Company car drivers tend to keep the cables in the pack unused and use more fuel as they tend to be petrol,in Belgium they found this to be true and reported here some months ago,with private buyers more likely to plugin.

13 October 2020

Company car drivers tend to keep the cables in the pack unused and use more fuel as they tend to be petrol,in Belgium they found this to be true and reported here some months ago,with private buyers more likely to plugin.

13 October 2020

Well, Honda want UK State funds to help subsidise most of their upcoming cars (hybrids). Honda have announced that they're pulling out of the Swindon factory as they don't need to build cars in the EU now to avoid extra taxes.

Boris: hold out an olive branch to Honda. Offer hybrid subsidies to all new cars built in the UK. Of course it's too late now, but Honda can't have it both ways.


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