Honda e to go on sale in Japan next month

Honda e to go on sale in Japan next month

Senior chief engineer Tomofumi Ichinose poses for a photo next to a Honda e electric car. (Reuters photo)
Senior chief engineer Tomofumi Ichinose poses for a photo next to a Honda e electric car. (Reuters photo)

TOKYO: Honda Motor Co said on Thursday that it would start selling its first mass-produced electric car on Oct 30 in Japan as part of its drive to electrify a large portion of its vehicles over the next decade.

The new "Honda e" four-seater compact car, with a suggested retail price from 4.51 million yen ($42,500), has a driving range of up to 283 kilometres under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Procedure standard.

While its range is considerably lower than larger electric vehicles including Tesla Inc's lowest-priced Model 3 and Nissan Motor Co's Leaf, the Honda e features the latest information technology such as smartphone-controlled door locks and starter.

The car can also be equipped with a side camera mirror system and an automatic parking feature.

The Honda e's highest trim will carry a price tag of 4.95 million yen. The model is eligible for central and local government subsidies.

Honda expects to sell 1,000 units a year of the new model in Japan. It already launched the vehicle in Europe earlier this month, with an annual sales target set at 10,000 units.

Honda is aiming for EVs, fuel-cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids and other hybrids to account for two-thirds of its cars sold globally by 2030.

Nissan has pursued EVs more aggressively than its domestic rivals, though European brands are more quickly catching up with Tesla and Chinese manufacturers.

In July, Nissan unveiled its new Ariya crossover EV to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021 and other major markets including North America, Europe and China by the end of that year.

Toyota Motor Corp plans to introduce a small electric two-seater car mainly targeted at elderly drivers later in the year in Japan.

Toyota, which sold over 9.7 million vehicles in 2019, aims to boost its global sales of EVs including hybrid cars to 5.5 million units by 2025.

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