Honda's boss has cast doubt on whether buyers really want electric vehicles, instead arguing hybrid vehicles are key to meeting government regulations.
"The objective is not electrification, per se, but improving fuel efficiency," Hachigo told ANE.
Although Honda has revealed its first mass-produced electric vehicle – the E city hatchback – the brand's CEO said he's "not so sure" there are customers who "truly want" electric vehicles.
"I do not believe there will be a dramatic increase in demand for battery vehicles, and I believe this situation is true globally," Hachigo said.
"There are different regulations in different countries, and we have to abide by them. So it's a must to continue r&d. But I don't believe it will become mainstream anytime soon."
Honda has committed to making two-thirds of its global volume electrified by 2030, while Honda Australia wants a quarter of its sales to be hybrid or electric by 2025. The only electrified model in the brand's Australian line-up is the new hybrid Accord.
Although it hasn't been confirmed, Honda Australia is still pushing to get the E hatchback Down Under.
“We love the Honda E, it’s a really exciting glimpse into Honda’s future and of course we would love to see it in Australia, but at this stage it has only been confirmed for Europe and Japan," a company spokesperson told CarAdvice.
Earlier this year, Honda Australia boss Stephen Collins said: “We definitely want it. As an urban funky looking runabout, absolutely."