EV Cars

Could Honda soon overtake all but Tesla in U.S. electric vehicle production?

Honda is well on its way with a $700 million project to retool three of its plants and build a new $3.5 billion battery plant for mass production of electric vehicles in the United States. But it also underlines how much flexibility the company has when switching to this production.

As the company confirmed Friday, it will be able to produce hundreds of electric vehicles per day at its upgraded Marysville auto plant in Ohio – potentially reaching levels that exceed, or, to put it another way, all 2023 U.S. electric vehicle sales figures other than Tesla This exceeds recent EV production at any other EV plant in the United States.

Or a more conservative approach could be taken and many hundreds of petrol models could be produced. Or both. It depends on the market, the company emphasized.

“We have full flexibility within the capabilities of the lines to adapt as needed,” Bob Nelson, executive vice president of American Honda, told Green Car Reports.

Honda did not provide actual production numbers for electric vehicles versus gasoline and hybrid models, but stressed that its “uniquely flexible assembly line” in Marysville “represents a strategic advantage to quickly respond to changing market demand.”

Honda Prologue 2024

Honda Prologue 2024

A strategic EV advantage as demand changes?

In Marysville alone, total production of this powertrain mix could be close to the plant’s peak production of about 950 vehicles per day – which equates to an annual vehicle capacity of 220,000 vehicles.

Honda emphasized that the flexibility is consistent with its original plan and that the company intends to produce electric vehicles at both its Marysville and East Liberty plants. Honda’s so-called EV hub, announced in 2022, includes four different plants in Ohio – Marysville, the East Liberty Plant, the Anna Engine Plant and a joint venture battery plant with LG Energy Solution. It does too Honda hybrid systems and engines in Ohio.

Honda prepares EV hub in Ohio

Honda prepares EV hub in Ohio

Honda prepares EV hub in Ohio

Honda prepares EV hub in Ohio

Marysville will be the first location for electric vehicle production starting in 2025. With more than 40 years of producing gasoline models in Marysville – Honda’s first operation in the United States – it will be a benchmark for electric vehicle production methods and the development of a regional supply chain.

The automaker previously had two assembly lines in Marysville, but is replacing them with a single modernized line that can freely combine production of electric vehicles and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. At East Liberty, equipment needed to be retooled, and both plants are in the process of creating additional space in the line layout to accommodate the massive battery unit, as well as additional space at the end of the line for the additional software review needed by electric vehicles. Honda says employment is expected to be stable compared to when there were two lines.

Honda Space Hub Concept – 2024 CES

Honda Space Hub Concept – 2024 CES

Casting bigger than Giga Texas

Honda will also manufacture the Integrated Power Units (IPU) of these upcoming electric vehicles, including additional hardware and software, in Ohio. They’re die-cast in two pieces to be welded together, but are made using 31-foot-tall, 6,000-ton die-casting machines — taller than the mega-casting machines Tesla has ordered for its Texas factory and the largest Honda has ever had anywhere worked together around the world, it is said. Sub-assembly of the battery modules will also take place at the facilities, with the cells being manufactured in the nearby joint venture.

The manufacturing information matches what Honda says about these upcoming electric vehicles and their upcoming platform. In January, research and development director Daisuke Tsutamori told Green Car Reports that these future electric vehicles will start with a very thin, rigid battery pack – about 10% thinner than other electric vehicles to open up more packaging options. Honda is targeting a 300-mile range for its Zero series, which will also feature steer-by-wire technology and be ready for autonomous driving.

Honda reiterated that the battery plant, which aims to have an annual production capacity of 40 gigawatt hours, will only supply Honda’s American electric vehicle production. That’s enough battery capacity to power around 300,000 to 500,000 electric vehicles of this size every year. As the company has emphasized, the upcoming product is widely available Honda electric vehicles will not be niche models. It also won’t be an electric version of the Accord or CR-V.

Honda Sedan Concept – 2024 CES

Honda Sedan Concept – 2024 CES

No electric Accord or CR-V

The American-made Honda has developed electric vehicles will launch in 2025, will be mid- to large-sized and will be based on a platform that the automaker has so far only referred to as “Honda’s original dedicated EV platform.” The platform is intended to support electric vehicles that could bear some resemblance to the Series 0 electric vehicles first shown at CES this January – including a sleek sedan concept that looks like a sci-fi and supercar-influenced alter ego of the Accord, and a space hub concept that could point the way to a future electric minivan.

production of the Sony-Honda EV with the Afeela brandis also expected to be manufactured at the EV hub in Ohio starting in 2026.

Although Honda could potentially produce a few hundred thousand electric vehicles per year at the plant, the company will likely be out of date either by the time production begins or shortly thereafter. Rival Hyundai plans to do so 300,000 electric vehicles per year at its upcoming EV plant in Georgia.

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