Honda has announced an initial sales goal of 70,000 units for the brand's first mainstream battery-electric vehicle (BEV), the Prologue SUV, when it goes on sale in 2024. Though pricing is unknown, the 70,000-unit sales target may be overly ambitious and perhaps an over-compensation, considering the brand is somewhat late to the EV party.
The Prologue SUV is being co-developed with General Motors and will use GM's new Ultium battery technology, which has not yet appeared on a production model. Honda and GM are also working together to develop an electric SUV for the Acura brand. The two automakers formed the partnership in April 2020.
GM's Ultium battery technology is a new energy resource used to power the electric motors that comprise the modular propulsion system in GM's EV strategy. Ultium energy will offer an estimated travel range of up to 400 miles on a full charge. And Ultium-based EVs will draw power from 400-volt battery packs and have up to 200 kW fast-charging capability.
While the new Honda Prologue will launch in 2024, Honda is also developing its own e-Architecture, which will support Honda's electric vehicles of the future. Honda intends to reach 500,000 all-electric sales by 2030, with 40 percent of all Hondas sold zero-emission vehicles.
Furthermore, Honda aims for 80 percent of all sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and to reach 100 percent by 2040. This goal, too, may seem very ambitious, considering Honda does not currently have a single pure EV in its lineup. Many manufacturers, however, continue to make strides in the EV space going on several years now.
Still, Honda is optimistic about its EV prospects. "Launching our first volume BEV in 2024 is the start of an exciting new direction for Honda," said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations, American Honda. "We are working with our dealers to plan the transition from sales of primarily gasoline-powered vehicles to selling 100-percent electric vehicles by 2040."
Honda's announcements came on the heels of President Joe Biden signing an executive order last month concerning zero-emission vehicles. The latest push from the White House sets a target for the U.S. auto industry to make half of all new passenger cars fully electric by 2030.
When the Prologue SUV goes on sale, Honda will initially focus on California and other states like Texas and Florida. Again, this raises the question of whether 70,000 units is a realistic goal without a nationwide product rollout.
Honda plans to have hybrid vehicles pave the way to its first EV launch. "Our strategy is focused on introducing a higher percentage of hybrids in core models in the near term, making a committed effort to achieve higher volume leading to the introduction of our Honda Prologue," Gardner said.