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Honda boss criticizes Toyota’s strategy


Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe thinks that the hydrogen fuel engine pursued by Toyota is not feasible.

When talking about plans to promote hydrogen-powered cars that rivals, such as Toyota, are focusing on, Mibe said that his company has been studying this potential since 10 years ago. But Honda finds the hydrogen strategy pursued by Toyota and Honda itself unfeasible now.

Both Honda and Toyota are the leading automakers of the Japanese auto industry, globally recognized for their gasoline-powered models. Camry, Accord, CR-V, RAV4 among them. However, as the rest of the industry seems to be leaning toward battery electric vehicles, the two firms have focused their efforts elsewhere.

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell – hydrogen-powered car produced from 2008 to 2021. Photo: Honda’s motobike

Especially Toyota, when it believes that hybrid models will remain competitive in the next 30 years alongside hydrogen-fueled electric vehicles, such as the Mirai (which has sold less than 10,000 vehicles in North America since its inception). released in 2015). Even Honda, despite the CEO’s statement above and recent comments, they also try with the discontinued Clarity Fuel Cell model.

Part of the reason for the investment is the backing from the Japanese government, as the country bets big on hydrogen fuel to achieve its emissions neutrality target by 2050. A hydrogen fuel-powered engine could prove to be the best fuel option for large-scale transport vehicles. Around the world, electric vehicles seem to be the winners for private vehicles.

Therefore, both Japanese automakers have made efforts in electrification, when each side has announced its own electric vehicle lines. Honda is still reaching consumers, especially in the US, while Toyota is still quite discreet and slow.

Now, with the CEO’s statement, Honda has frankly expressed its views and differentiated itself from its compatriots.

In a statement at the end of 2021, Mibe said: “We did research on each possibility. With the hydrogen engine, we faced difficult technological challenges. So about 10 years. We decided that wasn’t going to go mainstream.”

But that doesn’t mean Honda completely abandons hydrogen fuel technology. The company considers this as a source of fuel for large, long-distance vehicles. In fact, Honda has a branch that specializes in aircraft, and Mibe also points out that planes can’t fly on batteries, but green fuels like hydrogen could provide a clean solution in the future. The CEO also promised to abandon internal combustion engine cars by the end of 2040, focusing on electric and fuel-powered vehicles to achieve zero-emissions goals.

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