Honda Aims to Be Emissions Free By 2040

Honda has outlined plans to go fully electric by 2040 with a mix of battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. (Honda)

In an announcement from Honda’s new global president and CEO, Toshihiro Mibe, Honda revealed plans to sell only fully electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles worldwide by 2040. That makes Honda the latest major automaker to formally declare a move away from the internal combustion engine (ICE). With this pledge, Honda joins automakers including General Motors, Jaguar/Land Rover, Volvo, and others in promising a gas-free future.

Just a month into his role, Mibe, who previously ran Honda R&D, released his ambitious plan. "The hurdles are quite high," Mibe told Automotive News. "But I think we can get them. The fact that we have set targets clearly is the first step toward that goal."

Honda’s methodology includes a tiered approach. Beginning in 2030, the company wants to sell 40% non-gas-powered vehicles. In 2035 that number climbs to 80%, with the company intending to reach a 100% emissions-free line up by 2040.

Now that Honda has put the Clarity Electric on ice, the company offers just one fully electric vehicle: the E hatchback, available in Japan and Europe. To expedite its transition away from the ICE, Honda has partnered with GM, and that company will provide American-produced Ultium batteries for electric Hondas. Consumers can expect the introduction of two large EVs powered by these batteries in 2024; one for Honda and one for its premium brand, Acura.

Honda also pledges to expand its fuel cell offering in commercial trucks and power sources, creating what it calls a “hydrogen society.” No word yet on the timing of any future fuel cell passenger vehicles beyond the existing Clarity model.

Included in his announcement, Mibe revealed Honda’s new dedicated EV platform, e:Architecture. That platform begins production in the second half of the 2020s, starting with a North American rollout. Eventually, the company will introduce e:Architecture across the globe.

Mibe also formalized a further expansion of Honda’s overall sustainability plans. The company is shooting for all corporate products and activities to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Honda also wants to develop products from 100% sustainable materials.

Reaching these milestones won’t come without a cost. Honda's latest budget includes a $46 billion investment over the next six years to achieve these goals.