Honda is aiming to phase out pure internal combustion engines from its European line-up by the end of 2022, the firm’s senior vice president, Ian Howells, has confirmed.

“It [Honda’s line-up] will be a combination of full electric and hybrid,” he said. “Obviously, if the legislation starts to move as we approach 2035, or transitions away from hybrid as well, then we’ll move our technology away from that.”

Howells was keen to stress that Honda believes in a multi-pathway approach to reducing its carbon footprint and the recent UK government announcement around a 2030 ban hasn’t changed that.

He feels there is a role for various technologies. “There’s a role to play for e-fuels, for biomass, for hydrogen, to some degree for conventional fuels, and also batteries,” he said.

Although Honda supports electrification, the cost of electric vehicles is one reason that Howells doesn’t see them as an immediate solution to reducing the carbon output: “They’re a third to 50% more expensive than a conventional or hybrid vehicle.” As a result, Honda feels that hybrid technology will offer an effective way of transitioning to full electric.

Howells is aware of the limitations of hybrids: “They don’t take us the full way and that’s why we do see this as a transitioning or bridging type of technology to get us to the point at which the technology behind the batteries and the infrastructure are both in place to move forward to offering mass personal mobility with a new type of energy carrier.”

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