Honda withdraws pioneering e from EU market

Orders for the Honda e have stalled in Europe. Due to slow sales and a strong customer preference for all-electric SUVs, the Japanese carmaker is readdressing its strategy for battery-powered mobility. In the lower categories, it is prioritizing zero-emission scooters and motorbikes.

In 2020, Honda boldly entered the electric vehicle market with a small but clever take on the subject. Sporting a retro design reminiscent of the first-generation Civic and featuring innovative digital side mirrors, the e appeared poised to make waves in the burgeoning EV landscape, not in the least, because electric driving makes a lot of sense in urban environments, where air quality is at stake while stronger energy recuperation improves range.

A hard case

But despite its appealing features and decent power output, the Honda e struggled to impact sales significantly in the European market. Reportedly, just 4 078 units were sold in its debut year of 2020 and 3 752 units in 2021.

As Honda isn’t a strong fleet player and depends on private adoption, it became apparent that it had a hard case to make. Its base price of €39 900 and a modest battery pack of 35,5 kWh, offering a range of 220 kilometers, likely influenced its limited market success.

Corporate sales primarily drive European volumes in the BEV market, while the model was exclusively sold in the EU outside Japan. Development and marketing aimed at our region, as Japan is a slow adopter of BEVs. Therefore, sales figures did not gain traction in its homeland.

Regrouping efforts

So, the cuddly design didn’t suffice, and as usual, consumer preference once more shifted toward SUVs. That’s also the category where Honda is redirecting its focus concerning compact and medium-sized cars.

The future of the Sustaina C concept, unveiled at the Tokyo Mobility Show and hinting at a successor to the e, seems bleak. And the Honda Prologue SUV, made in collaboration with GM, won’t be imported. Honda’s future in the European electric vehicle market will be represented by the electric SUV e:Ny1, which is already on sale.

As for affordable electromobility on a smaller scale, Honda is regrouping its efforts in zero-emission motorcycles. Investing 3,4 million dollars (€3,1 million), the carmaker will introduce 30 new electric two-wheelers by the end of the decade.

The brand aims for annual sales of 4 million units by that year. The company has a firmer grip on the pricing of e-motorbikes, as it claims it can offer them at no surcharge compared to ICE. This road map is also driven by technological development. As of 2025, Honda hopes to equip these motorbikes with LFP batteries, gradually flanked by more expensive solid-state versions.

The investment in its electric motor branch is primarily aimed at the decarbonization plans in developing markets of India and greater Asia.

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