Mibe stressed that gasoline-electric hybrids will remain a key element of Honda’s lineup well into the 2030s and that he expects demand for them to increase in some places.
“We will continue to rely on hybrids as one of our powerful weapons,” he said.
But Honda, which sells about 4.5 million vehicles a year worldwide, has a long way to go before moving to full battery-electric vehicles.
Since marketing its first in 1997, the Honda EV Plus, the company has sold only 32,649 BEVs cumulatively. Almost half them, 14,324, sold in 2021 alone.
Honda has made a much bigger market dent with hybrids, a segment it helped pioneer with the Insight. It has sold 3.9 million hybrids cumulatively over the years, including 561,165 gasoline-electrics in 2021.
The limited-run EV Plus, a squat three-door microcar, was Honda’s first EV, but the battery-powered version of the low-selling Clarity sedan was the first to be marketed in the U.S.
Today, its only global all-electric offering is the Honda e urban runabout, and it is not sold in the U.S. Honda sold 9,226 of the subcompact hatchbacks in Europe and Japan through the end of 2021, including 4,171 last year. The company also sells three locally focused electric models in the China market.
Naoto Okamura contributed to this report.