Honda has announced plans to enter the eVTOL industry with its own prototype, but with a twist. The famed automotive company plans to build a hybrid gas-electric vehicle, noting most of its competition is making bets on all-electric viability and the limited range that comes with it. Honda sees aerial mobility as one of the key markets it can enter in the coming decades, alongside robotics and space exploration.
The announcement comes as part of Honda’s 2030 Vision, a plan to create a unified corporate strategy, align its business objectives, and reimagine the future of mobility. “For Honda to continue to be a company society wants to exist even in the year 2050, when Honda will be more than 100 years old, we envisioned what we want Honda to look like in such a future. And based on that, we determined what we want to look like in the year 2030, and we summarized that as our 2030 Vision,” states their website.
Honda plans to spend $45 billion USD over the next six years on emerging technologies, an incredible commitment to the future of transportation. “Core technologies in these areas are connected to our existing businesses,” said Marcos Frommer, head of corporate communications for Honda, in a briefing with reporters, “and we are pursuing these new areas as an expansion of our core business as a mobility company.”
Frommer expanded on the company’s decision to pursue a hybrid eVTOL as opposed to an all-electric model, stating their customers would prefer greater mission ranges for intercity travel. Honda hasn’t published many technical details of its prototype, but plans to design it for a 250 mile mission. The company is targeting test flights to begin in the next 2-3 years and certification by 2030.
Why it matters: Honda joins a crowded room of other automotive companies entering into the aerial mobility market. Auto giants Toyota, GM, and Hyundai have announced plans, among others. Honda may have a small advantage over other automotive firms as it already has experience in building niche business jets and has a plethora of in-house aeronautical technical prowess.