The company plans to focus on hybrids through 2030.
Honda apparently believes its peers are overly enthusiastic about the projected demand for electric vehicles.
CEO Takahiro Hachigo says the industry is facing significant hurdles to developing and deploying both EVs and autonomous technology, according to a recent interview with Automotive News.
"EVs will not be mainstream," he added. "I do not believe there will be a dramatic increase in demand for battery vehicles, and I believe this situation is true globally."
The thinking has influenced Honda's roadmap, which focuses on hybrid powertrains to comply with emissions regulations through 2030. The automaker isn't completely turning its back on EVs, however, with plans to launch the unique E city car in Europe starting next year.
Hachigo's pessimistic forecast for EV sales arguably makes sense if looking only at models offered by traditional automakers, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt, both of which immediately stagnated and never achieved sales numbers close to mainstream internal-combustion models. The Tesla Model 3 is a different story, however, quickly surging to become more popular than many traditional sedans that had been on the market for years.
Many industry insiders have been consistently dismissive of Tesla, apparently believing the Model 3 is an anomaly that does not foreshadow a broader industry trend. Others have viewed the Bolt and Leaf as doomed from the start. Not because of battery power, but rather their respective body styles that have become increasingly unpopular even for internal-combustion models.
Upcoming models such as the Tesla Model Y and Ford's Mustang-styled electric crossover will represent the first examples of relatively affordable long-range EVs targeting one of the most popular vehicle segments. Ford may be late to the game but is not taking any chances as it develops an all-electric F-150 to ensure the best-selling nameplate in the US will not lose its status if executives such as Honda's CEO prove wrong.