Honda Motor Co. has taken a look at China's technology and massive resources and now plans to develop electric car batteries in China, according to Honda CEO Takanobu Ito. In Southern China, Ito told reporters that a breakthrough is required to be able to carry the zero-emission cars into the mainstream. Ito had been in Southern China to announce a plan to raise Guangqi Honda's annual production capacity by a third to 480,000 units.
Honda is likely to lag behind rivals Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., which has partnered with electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. Ito forecasts that electric cars would be able to go mainstream in 10-20 years. For the next several years, Ito said that Honda will be concentrating on hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles.
Honda is mulling over plans to bring electric cars in limited numbers to the US, Europe and Japan; however, it has yet to find a strategic partner that would commit to developing batteries for the vehicles.
Honda actually already has a joint venture with Japan's GS Yuasa Corp to work on lithium-ion batteries for hybrid cars. Honda and GS Yuasa have an agreement that if the need arises, they could work on electric car batteries as well. GS Yuasa is in a joint venture with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. for the development and production of electric car batteries.