Honda has been making far-reaching public announcements about its plans to achieve carbon neutrality for the past couple of years now. In April, 2021, Team Red set a goal for itself of being a 100-percent zero emission concern by 2040. By September, 2022, it said that plans were underway to release 10 new electric two-wheelers by 2025.
Now, as a company that sells its products around the globe, not every product that Honda makes is sold in every market. Ask any motorbike or car enthusiast and they can probably name at least one model they’re salty about because it was never officially sold where they live.
Ten may seem like a lot, on its face—but at the time Honda made this announcement, it had already launched the Benly :e, Gyro :e, and Gyro Canopy :e in Japan, as well as its collaboration with Muji on the MS01 e-bike for the Chinese market. In other words, it already had four electric two-wheelers out in the world, leaving just six more to release in order to hit its stated goal.
On January 10, 2023, Honda officially announced the introduction of three more e-bike models for the Chinese market: the Cub e:, Dax e:, and Zoomer e:. According to Chinese vehicle categorization, these diminutive scoots that carry Honda’s existing design influence from some of its popular combustion models over to low-speed EV form top out at a top speed of 15.5 miles per hour (or 25 kilometers per hour). No need to break out your calculator here; with the release of these three e-bikes, Honda’s electric two-wheeler count is now up to seven. It appears Team Red has hit the ground running.
All of that action over the past few years, it seems, was setting the stage for Honda’s latest electric announcement, which it made on January 24, 2023. According to one of the world’s largest auto and motorbike manufacturers, it’s about to undergo significant organization and operational changes later this year, all aimed at accelerating its electrification strategies across its platforms. That includes both the automotive side, and also the motorcycle and power products side.
To accomplish this goal, it’s forming a new Electrification Business Development Operations arm, which will have dedicated automotive, battery electric vehicle development, and motorcycle and power products electrification units under its purview. It’s also streamlining its Regional Operations units from six down to three: North America, China, and the slightly nebulous “Associated Regions,” which combines Japan, Asia/Oceania, South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
According to the announcement, Honda intends to begin this next phase in its company-wide electrification journey on April 1, 2023—a date that, we’ll be honest, always makes us question everything. While April Fool’s Day is not a thing everywhere in the world, it has been celebrated for some time in Japan. To be clear, this particular announcement does not strike us in any way as a joke. However, we also wouldn’t be doing our jobs if that date choice didn’t at least make us raise an eyebrow.