Honda Is Making a Major Change in Just 2 Years

Honda has a decisive move in store for its vehicle lineup — one that could be a harbinger of things to come.

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For the year 2020, Europe enacted more stringent fleet-wide emissions standards. The penalties for exceeding the restrictions have plenty of bite, potentially in the billions of dollars (or euros). We’ve already seen some lineup impacts from them: those standards were a significant reason Land Rover ditched the old Defender, and the new one is a fundamentally different vehicle.

But there’s an even more remarkable impact coming soon: Honda plans to phase out internal combustion vehicles entirely in Europe by the end of 2022.

In an interview with Autocar, Honda senior VP Ian Howells said the Honda lineup will be a “combination of full-electric and hybrids” going forwards. He also said that Honda would continue to lean on hybrids in the short-term, as electric cars remain “a third to 50 percent more expensive than a conventional or hybrid vehicle.”

Honda had been struggling to meet fleet-wide European emissions standards on its own; the brand just announced they were joining with FCA in pooling their emissions with Tesla to avoid fines. We don’t know how much Honda is paying for that privilege, but Tesla has earned a reported $1.2 billion from pooling for emissions purposes in 2020.

It’s not clear what, if anything, this will mean for Honda in the U.S. market. America is large enough to be its own ecosystem in the automotive world, and many of the cars Honda sells in America are built for the U.S. and not sold in Europe. That said, Honda was already making a major push toward hybrid power with its most popular cars like the CR-V and the Accord, so we expect that to continue and intensify. But we perhaps should also consider that Honda’s move may be a precursor for what is to come in the next few years here in America, what with manufacturers prepping to move decisively toward zero-emission vehicles.


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