“The demand is growing every day. … We just seem to be hitting the market at the heart of when more people want to buy hybrids.”
As the new-to-Canada CR-V Hybrid reaches consumers, the Japanese automaker is turning its attention to battery-electric vehicle production in the United States.
The company announced two major EV investments in Ohio Oct. 11, committing US$3.5 billion for a joint venture battery plant with LG Energy Solution, plus US$700 million for EV-oriented retooling projects at three of its Ohio plants.
Honda is also collaborating with General Motors to launch the fully electric Honda Prologue and the Acura ZDX on the U.S. automaker’s Ultium platform in 2024, prior to the introduction of its in-house EVs.
The spending south of the border does not mean Honda’s Ontario campus will be left out of the transition to EVs, Leclerc said.
“That does not preclude anything from happening here. … We’re well positioned because we’re training our associates [and] we’re retrofitting our manufacturing plants to evolve HCM to build EVs in the future.”
Leclerc said Ohio has long been a research and development hub for Honda, and it being made the company’s North American nerve centre for EVs did not come as a surprise. The automaker has not provided details about its new models based on its e:Architecture platform, but has said they will be built and sold in North America starting in 2026.
“It starts there, and then basically you spread the expertise to other plants that will start building EVs for [Honda], including HCM.”
Leclerc would not comment on whether fully electric models at its Alliston campus could also lead to local battery production.