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Honda and Hitachi have agreed to setup a new joint venture to produce electric car motors.

The joint venture firm will be 49 per cent owned by Honda, with the controlling stake residing with Hitachi. The company will be based in Ibaraki Prefecture, just north of Tokyo, and will be seeded with 5 billion yen ($58 million) in starting capital.

According to Honda, the new firm will “respond to the growing global demand from automakers for electric vehicle motors by developing competitive motors that combine the expertise of the two companies”.


Above: Honda Clarity Electric.

This latest announcement is part of Honda’s push into the electric vehicle arena. Last month, Takahiro Hachigo, Honda’s CEO, announced the company was hard at work on two new electric vehicles: one for global markets, and one specifically for China.

The global EV will be unveiled in some form at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show in September, while the China-only EV will go on sale in 2018.

In addition to this, Honda will also offer electric and plug-in hybrid versions of its Clarity hatchback, which was originally only sold with a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain.

The Clarity EV is only available in a handful of US states, and its appeal will be limited by its range of just 129 kilometres. It will be priced at around US$35,000, pitching it directly against vehicles with much greater range, including 383km Chevrolet Bolt and 346km Tesla Model 3.

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