Honda has been a bit slow off the mark with EVs. Even though the Honda E is cute as heck, it’s a niche little city car that isn’t intended to sell in vast numbers. And while the automaker is pulling out of F1 at the end of this year to bring engineering brains back to Sakura, Honda hasn’t bought into the idea of producing mass-market electric cars. At least that was the case until now, as Honda announced Monday that it has strong expectations for its upcoming American-built electric SUV, the Prologue.
That mission is led by four collaborations with GM, the first of which is set to be the Prologue; scheduled to arrive in 2024. The Prologue isn’t built yet and you can’t order it, but Honda expects to be shipping out 70,000 of them in its launch year. In comparison, in 2020 Honda sold an estimated 102,000 Pilots, 84,000 HR-Vs, and only 32,000 Ridgelines.
So it’s not necessarily a crazy number, however, given that it’s a collaboration with GM that uses the existing Ultium platform. But still, it’s an aggressive goal for a brand-new electric vehicle from a legacy player. One possible production stumbling block could be the fact that, unlike GM, Honda’s workforce isn’t unionized, and we already told you how the Japanese automaker feels about the union-made, $4,500 EV incentive proposal.
Once Honda delivers on its sales expectations—or if it does—and as it introduces more EV models, it will eventually develop its own e-Architecture platform instead of borrowing from the unionized workers at GM. Honda aims that 40 percent of North American sales will be zero-emission vehicles by the rather unambitious date of 2030. Comparatively, Audi is just going to stop building new gas and diesel cars by 2026.
By 2030 Honda wants to have sold half a million battery electric vehicles, on its way to only selling zero-emission cars in North America by 2040. All well and good, except for that EV incentive that, right now, it can’t access due to the union issue mentioned above.
“As with other automakers, Honda’s initial zero emission vehicle sales goals of 40 percent by 2030 are contingent upon fair and equitable access to state and federal EV incentives intended to encourage American consumers to purchase electric vehicles,” read the press release. “Honda has urged Congress to ensure that all vehicles made in America are treated equally.”
Perhaps if Honda’s workforce unionized, then maybe all vehicles made in America would be treated equally. But considering the incentive at stake is merely a proposal right now and not a reality, this is most likely not a battle to be fought right away. After all, the launch of the Prologue is still three years out.
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