As automakers flock to establish production facilities in the US while accelerating EV distribution in accordance with consumer demand, Honda has made it clear that it does not intend to be left behind by announcing not one, but two major investments in the production of EVs and batteries in the US.
These investments include $700 million (all figures in US dollars) to re-tool several of Honda’s existing auto and powertrain plants — specifically, Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant (MAP), East Liberty Auto Plant (ELP) and Anna Engine Plant (AEP) — for production of EVs. In addition, Honda has pledged $3.5 billion with LG Energy Solution (LGES) to establish a previously announced joint venture facility to produce the battery modules to power them, pending final government approvals. The JV battery plant will be located in Ohio’s Fayette County, and will effectively turn Ohio into the automaker’s “EV Hub”.
As it stands, Honda still intends to launch its first EV (the highly anticipated Prologue) in the US in partnership with GM. However, now the EV will be produced locally, which will ensure the automaker’s compliance with the tax credit requirements set forth by the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Honda plans to begin production and sales of Honda EVs in North America in 2026, based on its new Honda e:Architecture,” reads the official press release. “The $700 million re-tooling will enable AEP associates to produce the battery case, to be combined with the battery modules from the JV plant on a sub-assembly line at MAP, with the complete battery unit then installed in EVs built by associates at both MAP and ELP.”
These plans help to align the automaker with its goal of making battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles represent 100 per cent of its vehicle sales by 2040 in North America.
“This is a very challenging time for our entire industry, but also a very exciting time as Honda invests in full electric vehicle production in the Buckeye State,” said Bob Nelson, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Honda has built hybrid-electric vehicles in Ohio for a number of years, and the experience and expertise of our associates in manufacturing, product development, and purchasing will serve as an important foundation as we transition to the electrified future.”
According to the announcement, construction on the joint venture battery factory is expected to start early next year and should be completed by the end of 2024, with a goal of establishing the production of “advanced pouch-type, Li-ion cells” with a total annual capacity of 40 GWh.