With the Volkswagen Group beginning production of its mainstream ID.3 electric hatch as its first salvo in an EV onslaught, and Toyota looking to introduce at least 10 EVs by the early 2020s, Honda continues to see hybrid powertrains as its main weapon in curbing carbon emissions.
In an interview with Automotive News, Takahiro Hachigo, Honda CEO and president, said, "I don't believe [EVs] will become mainstream anytime soon".
Globally, Hachigo doesn't think there will be a "dramatic increase" for full electric vehicles as "there are issues with infrastructure and hardware".
The company will continue to invest in EVs, though, as regulations in some regions, most notably Europe and China, have favoured their development.
Honda's CEO stated his company's goal is cut carbon emissions, rather than having EVs for the sake of having EVs.
Above: Honda E.
The recently unveiled Honda E is for Europe and Japan only, although the Australian arm has expressed interest in the vehicle.
Overseas, the company is pushing harder with its electrification plans. In Europe, it has committed to having its entire range electrified by 2022, with the new Jazz only available there as a hybrid.
For the US, there are hybrid versions of the Accord and CR-V, as well as the Civic-based Insight sedan. Meanwhile the visually challenging Clarity is offered with plug-in hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell drivetrains.
Hachigo also sounded words of caution of autonomous vehicles. He claimed Honda has developed automatic lane change and self-steering technologies, but isn't sure when or how to introduce them to the market.
"You have to think about what the social demand is and what legal environment we have to operate in," Hachigo said. "Now is the time for us to ponder how we can introduce these services to the market."
While in the few last years there has been a lot said and written about the coming era of autonomous cars, lately companies have begun to pull back from their aggressive targets.
In July, Cruise decided to delay its roll out of self-driving taxis in San Francisco, which was originally scheduled to begin at the end of 2019.