For years we had been seeing the price of batteries, by far the most expensive component of any electric car, drop, with the hope that one day, an electric car would cost the same as an equivalent model with a combustion engine. In the last two years the world has turned upside down and, as a direct or indirect consequence, the prices of practically everything necessary to manufacture a battery have skyrocketed: lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese… In addition to transport and supply chain issues. To the point that the possibility of the long-awaited equalization is dissipating again prices, at least with current technology.
In this regard, Dave Gardner, vice president of business and sales for Honda in North America, has stated that current battery technology will not be affordable enough to match its acquisition cost to a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.
In this sense, Gardner pointed out that the next electric SUV from Honda/Acura It will cost more than a similar SUV with an internal combustion engine, precisely because of the cost of lithium batteries. The SUV in question is the Honda Prologue, which will be developed jointly with General Motors. The Prologue will use the Ultium platform of the American manufacturer and will also be the first volume electric for the Japanese firm, with a more notable production than the Honda e.
“Us [Honda] we don’t really believe that current lithium-ion technology is the long-term solution,” says Gardner. Instead, go for solid state batteries, a technology that will be “the change of course” for the Japanese firm. The American manager affirms that solid-state batteries will reduce the cost of electric cars, leaving them around the cost of one with an internal combustion engine. He does admit, however, that solid-state batteries are “not just around the corner.”
However, Honda has already started working on the development of these new batteries and has started to do the first tests on a small scale, yes, on a larger and larger scale. Honda announced last Monday that it will invest 310 million dollars in the project of an experimental production line where it will investigate the mass production of solid-state batteries.
As announced by Honda last April, from 2026 the company will start using its electric modular platform ‘Honda e: Architecture’. This includes the hardware and also all the software, connectivity and driving assistance systems. By the time that platform hits the market, Honda will have already started using solid-state batteries, which it plans to start rolling out as early as 2025. However, mass deployment may occur in later years.
Let us remember that Honda will invest around 37,000 million euros in the development of electric car technologies, software and new models, with the idea of launching 30 new electric cars by 2030, some of them developed with the support of General Motors. These investments include the construction of a battery factory together with LG Energy with a planned capacity of 40 GWh per year. The works will begin in early 2023 and it is planned to start the production of cells in 2025.