New Honda e:Ny1 to spearhead push to meet UK EV sales mandate

Honda eny1

Electric compact SUV is critical to meeting government legislation for 22% of sales to be fully electric in 2024

The success of the new Honda e:Ny1 electric SUV being launched next year will be critical to the firm hitting the government’s upcoming zero-emissions targets.

The e:Ny1 – named as such during a global presentation by the manufacturer but expected to take a different name when it goes into production – is the company’s first mainstream electric car, following on from the niche, Europe-only Honda E. It is similar in size to the Honda HR-V but sits on a bespoke electric platform.

Talking about its launch in 2023, Honda’s head of cars in the UK, Rebecca Adamson, said: “It is our first mainstream EV offering. The Honda E has been a great showpiece, but this car will take our BEV ambitions to a new level. It will offer more range and a more usable set-up, and it is critical for us to hit our targets.”

Under government proposals, manufacturers will need at least 22% of all car sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2024, rising to 80% in 2030 and 100% in 2035.

Government plans: what percentage of zero-emission new cars and when

2024: 22% 2025: 28% 2026: 33% 2027: 38% 2028: 52% 2029: 66%
2030: 80% 2031: 84% 2032: 88% 2033: 92% 2034: 96% 2035: 100%

“The targets are being set for the right reasons, and it is down to us to hit them. They are the right thing to do,” said Adamson, when asked if she supported the legislation. “In that regard, e:Ny1 is arriving at exactly the right time. We have a target to hit for 2024, and it arrives at exactly the right time for us to start building the order banks so that we go into that year on the front foot.”

Honda’s managing director in the UK, Jean-Marc Streng, added that Honda’s focus on profitability over sales volume in recent years would also help it make the transition for electric sales. In 2007, the firm sold more than 100,000 cars in the UK, but this year it expects to sell around 30,000 – while recording record profits.

“The government targets are based on percentages, so our focus on profit over volume means again that we will not have to force any EV sales in order to hit our required levels,” he said. “In that regard, we see our size as an advantage: we can maintain our focus on profitable retail sales rather than having to force through other channels.”

Adamson also dismissed concerns that the high average age of a Honda buyer – currently 64 – could be a concern as it begins to offer more fully electric cars.

“We’ve seen no signs at all that our loyal customer base are averse to new technology,” she said. “When the Honda Jazz went from being sold as a manual – which 50% of customers optioned – to only automatic, the same queries were raised. It is now our best-selling car and loyalty is strong.

“Instead, I’d suggest that our reputation for reliability, innovation, integrity and trust will stand us in good stead. Our customers know our history of delivering on our promises, and I think it will make them more willing to embrace new technology.”

Honda’s retail share of the UK’s hybrid-focused alternative-fuel vehicles market has grown at the second-fastest rate of any manufacturer this year, according to its own data, with only Toyota outstripping it. With the launch of the new Honda Civic this year, all its core models will be electrified.

Honda has pledged to put 30 new EVs on sale by 2030 globally, as well as announcing that it will launch at least one new EV in partnership with Sony in 2025, and co-develop EVs with GM for the US market.

Source: Autocar

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