You would argue that the quietest enterprise week within the Western world is that week between Christmas and New Yr’s, and into that nebulous, boozy, cheese-filled week of relative silence was lobbed information that China has lifted its decades-old ban on foreign ownership of Chinese car factories. Tesla already owned their Chinese factory, so it appeared like enterprise as normal – till Honda introduced plans to construct an enormous EV manufacturing unit in China.
The brand new manufacturing unit might be constructed by Honda Motor (China) Funding Co., Ltd., which is a wholly-owned Honda subsidiary (assume “Porsche” and “PCNA“) and Dongfeng Honda Vehicle Co., Ltd., a Honda gross sales JV in China. The manufacturing unit might be, “a brand new devoted electrical automobile (EV) manufacturing plant … in preparation for the growth of its EV lineup within the coming years.”
Honda’s new manufacturing unit will cowl 630,000 sq. meters of floor (approx. 155 acres) within the Wuhan Financial Growth Zone in Hubei Province, China, and can present sufficient capability to supply 120,000 unnamed EVs per yr. However, regardless that Honda didn’t explicitly say what it was going to construct there, we already know two issues about what Honda goes to construct there, because of the “e:N Collection” of idea vehicles Scooter Doll covered back in October (proven, at prime).
We’ll circle again to that.
The brand new EV manufacturing unit is being designed to be a extremely environment friendly “good” plant, able to “start-to-finish” EV manufacturing. Meaning every thing from stamping and welding, to portray, meeting, and automobile inspection. Honda additionally claims the plant additionally will try to realize an industry-leading stage of automation, primarily within the meeting space.
In its press launch, Honda claims its new Wuhan plant will, “proactively pursue sustainability initiatives, which can embody utilization of renewable power sources resembling solar energy towards the conclusion of carbon neutrality, use of recycled water … and reduction of VOC emissions.”
Honda has been criticized for its “pathetic electric vehicle ambitions” in North America, having beforehand introduced a goal of 100% “electric” sales by 2040. That’s totally twelve years behind Chrysler – and, as we famous, the automaker remains to be betting on gasoline cell hydrogen to realize that purpose, and building its US-market “volume” EVs on GM’s Ultium platform.
It stays to be seen if this new Wuhan manufacturing unit is the beginning of an about-face for Honda, displaying a brand new dedication to BEVs, or an remoted try to capitalize on China’s cheap labor pool and favorable enterprise situations for locally-built vehicles. Time will inform.
Photos of a production-ready, battery-electric model of Honda’s upcoming e:NP1/HR-V successor not too long ago leaked on-line, however their earlier claims that the primary quantity US-market EV could be primarily based on the Ultium platform appeared it was a China-only product; there’s hypothesis that it might attain different markets in restricted numbers. That hypothesis was additional fueled by feedback made by Christophe Decultot, President, Honda Benelux (Belgium), who was quoted by TopElectric SUV saying, “On the Shanghai automotive present earlier this yr, there was an idea automotive. Though that mannequin has been developed for the Chinese language market, there’s a likelihood that the automotive may also come to Europe.”
I get the sensation Honda is enjoying some video games right here with phrases like “quantity”, and we’ll be getting some smaller, Chinese language-built EVs – if not the e:NP1, itself – to each fill the hole left by the Match, which was dropped from the North American market on the finish of 2020, and act as a compliance automotive in California à la Mazda MX-30 EV.
Which might you reasonably have?
Sources | Pictures: Forbes, Honda.
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