IndyCar rivals GM and Honda will codevelop electric cars

Will the future of IndyCar be all electric? Based on Chevy and Honda’s goal of being 100% electric by the end of the decade, the pressure will be there to race all-electric cars.

GM Press Release (See Honda’s perspective below)

General Motors and Honda today announced plans to expand the two companies’ relationship to a new chapter by codeveloping a series of affordable electric vehicles based on a new global architecture using next-generation Ultium battery technology.

The companies are working together to enable global production of millions of EVs starting in 2027, including compact crossover vehicles, leveraging the two companies’ technology, design and sourcing strategies. The companies will also work toward standardizing equipment and processes to achieve world-class quality, higher throughput and greater affordability. The compact crossover segment is the largest in the world, with annual volumes of more than 13 million vehicles.

GM and Honda also will discuss future EV battery technology collaboration opportunities, to further drive down the cost of electrification, improve performance and drive sustainability for future vehicles.

GM is already working to accelerate new technologies like lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries, along with production methods that can quickly be used to improve and update battery cell manufacturing processes. Honda is making progress on its all-solid-state battery technology which the company sees as the core element of future EVs. Honda has established a demonstration line in Japan for all-solid-state batteries and is making further progress toward mass-production.

“GM and Honda will share our best technology, design and manufacturing strategies to deliver affordable and desirable EVs on a global scale, including our key markets in North America, South America and China,” said Mary Barra, GM chair and CEO.  “This is a key step to deliver on our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in our global products and operations by 2040 and eliminate tailpipe emissions from light duty vehicles in the U.S. by 2035. By working together, we’ll put people all over the world into EVs faster than either company could achieve on its own.”

“Honda is committed to reaching our goal of carbon neutrality on a global basis by 2050, which requires driving down the cost of electric vehicles to make EV ownership possible for the greatest number of customers,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Honda president & CEO.  “Honda and GM will build on our successful technology collaboration to help achieve a dramatic expansion in the sales of electric vehicles.”

“The progress we have made with GM since we announced the EV battery development collaboration in 2018, followed by co-development of electric vehicles including the Honda Prologue, has demonstrated the win-win relationship that can create new value for our customers,” said Shinji Aoyama, Honda senior managing executive officer. “This new series of affordable EVs will build on this relationship by leveraging our strength in the development and production of high quality, compact class vehicles.”

“Our collaboration with Honda and the continuing development of Ultium are the foundation of this project, utilizing our global scale to enable a lower cost foundation for this new series of EVs for millions of customers,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Our plans include a new all-electric product for North America positioned at a price point lower than the upcoming Chevrolet Equinox EV, building on the 2 million units of EV capacity the company plans to install by the end of 2025.”

GM and Honda have developed a close working relationship over many years, including several projects in recent years focused on electric and autonomous vehicle technologies. In 2013, the two companies began working together on the co-development of a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies.  In 2018, Honda joined GM’s EV battery module development efforts. In 2020, GM and Honda announced plans to codevelop two EVs, including the Honda Prologue, to be launched in early 2024, soon followed by Acura’s first EV SUV. Further, the companies have an ongoing relationship with Cruise and are working together on the development of the Cruise Origin, one of the first purpose-built fully autonomous vehicles designed for driverless ride-hail and delivery.

Honda Press Release

Announcing a new battery electric vehicle isn’t exactly headline making news these days.  Our latest collaboration with GM is a bit different. Our unique proposition is to leverage the strengths of our two companies to drive down the cost of electric vehicles, making it possible for the greatest number of customers to purchase an EV globally, as well as in North America, to purchase an EV.

Each company will contribute unique values to this effort to create a new series of affordable electric vehicles.

I think it’s fair to say that Honda has been the industry leader in creating affordable, fuel efficient and fun to drive compact vehicles since we joined the U.S. auto industry a half century ago.  This includes the Honda Civic and CR-V… now our best-selling car and SUV, respectively.  These products have helped Honda lead all full-line automakers in America with the highest fleet-wide fuel economy and the lowest CO2 emissions, according to the U.S. EPA1

Of course, staying at the top of this list in the future will require a change from a “power train” to a “drive train.”  That’s where our global strategy to embrace technology alliances comes in.  Our relationship with GM, which made a bold commitment to become a 100% EV brand, is one way in which we are accelerating this electrified future.

We plan to leverage these strengths to achieve a dramatic expansion in the sales of affordable, compact electric vehicles.  The foundation of this collaboration is the strength of the relationship between GM and Honda, and the comfort level we have in joint development projects based on successful collaboration in other advanced technology projects focused on electric and autonomous vehicles.

Of course, this includes the announcement in 2020 of our plans to co-develop two EV SUVs, which includes the Honda Prologue and an all-electric Acura SUV.  We will begin to launch these models in 2024.

The success of the members of our design and development teams working with their GM counterparts in Warren, Michigan, was a key factor in the decision to develop a new series of affordable electric vehicles together.

But I want to be clear that our goal – and what is driving our pursuit of electrified vehicles – is our global commitment to achieve carbon neutrality on a global basis by 2050.  This is a unique challenge for Honda, as we make not only cars and trucks, but motorcycles, a variety of power equipment products and aircraft for our customers here and in markets around the world.

At the same time, as we announced last year, Honda is already developing electric vehicles using our own Honda e:Architecture and they are in the pipeline.  So, we’re not providing details on where the Honda derivative from the new affordable EV series will sit in the Honda lineup.  What I can tell you is that our offerings will align with our customers’ and dealers’ expectations in North America and other markets where they will be introduced. And we will align it with the models we are creating based on our own e: Architecture.

Finally, this fall we will mark 40 years of building automobiles in America2.  And I can tell you the associates at our manufacturing operations in North America are excited about the prospect of building battery electric vehicles in the years ahead.

We already make hybrid-electric vehicles in Ohio and Indiana, including assembly of the battery module and two-motor hybrid system in several of these plants. And we just announced a major investment in our auto plants in Canada, to support their production of hybrid-electric vehicles.

So, the journey to electrification has begun, and through this win-win relationship with GM we will accelerate it before the end of the decade. In so doing, we can accomplish more together, for our customers and for global climate change, than either company could do alone.

Rick Schostek
Executive Vice President, Corporate Services
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

1. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: The 2021 EPA Automotive Trends Report: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Fuel Economy and Technology since 1975. Published November 2021.
2. Using domestic and globally-sourced parts