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HONDA Motor has broken its modest EV development strategy by announcing it will spend more than $A97 billion on its electrification and software investment over the 10 years running through the 2030 business year.

Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe told a press conference it planned to spend a total of 10 trillion yen ($A97.25b) on electrification and software over the period, doubling the amount it had pledged in April 2022.

Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe

It includes plans unveiled last month to invest $US11 billion ($A16.5b) in new EV and battery production plants alongside existing facilities in Ontario, Canada, as it prepares to expand in the North American market.

Honda is a relative latecomer to EVs. It has attributed its delay to ensuring a reliable source of batteries and in achieving cost cuts and performance improvements.

On its software development, Mr Mibe said that Honda “realised the amount we had settled on two years ago was simply not enough, so we significantly increased that portion.”

Honda said its battery-electric (BEV) models will start production from 2026, promising a cruising range of 300 miles (482km) or more, Mr Mibe said, along with an ultra-thin battery pack and a newly-developed compact e-axle.

It is aiming to reduce battery procurement costs in North America by more than 20 per cent by 2030 and reduce production expenses by about 35 per cent, partly by boosting parts integration.

Honda first unveiled its BEV ‘Honda 0 Series’ in January as the start of its push to catch up with global rivals in the transition to EVs.

It said the 0 Series Honda will feature e-axles with high power conversion efficiency and packaging, lightweight, high-density battery packs and  aerodynamic performance, targeting a sufficient range while minimising the battery capacity loaded on the vehicle.

To address concerns about charging time and battery degradation, which Honda said has been the challenge facing the popularisation of EVs “Honda 0 Series models will offer stress-free charging performance and worry-free battery performance that minimises degradation over many years of use. 

“For the 0 Series models to be launched in the second half of the 2020s, fast-charging 15 per cent to 80 per cent will be shortened to about 10-15 minutes. 

“In the meantime, by applying battery system control technology refined based on a massive amount of driving data from over 1-million units of Honda electrified vehicles, Honda is striving to limit the degradation of battery capacity (range) to less than 10 per cent after 10 years of use.

Honda faces growing competition from established global brands that have rolled out EVs at a swifter pace and players such as Tesla and a raft of Chinese automakers, including BYD.

Mr Mibe said Honda plans to launch seven models in its EV series globally by 2030, even though he acknowledged that the sales of EVs in North America and Europe were slowing.

Meanwhile, in China, Honda is scaling down its full-time production workforce because of heavy competition and has announced that about 1700 workers will leave this week as its car sales in China decline.

By Neil Dowling

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