On April 22, 2021, Honda's President and Representative Director Toshihiro Mibe revealed in a press conference posted on YouTube, the company will be selling 100% electric vehicles and that all its offices and manufacturing plants will be powered with 100% renewable energy by 2050. The company also plans to be selling all electric vehicles globally by 2040. In a very short segment of the video, Honda also plans on making an all-electric or a hybrid-electric or possibly both, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and expects it to be in service sometime after 2030.
During the President's message, Mibe recognizes the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic has changed the world we live in and the pandemic has become opportunity to change society to be a better place for everyone. Mibe stated the Covid-19 pandemic has also become a catalyst for major good changes for the future. Honda affirms their goal to produce mobility products on a mass scale to help people connect with each other, make their lives safer, freer, helping people to become more prosperous and protecting the environment and world we live in.
In addition, Mibe stated that the awareness of global environmental problems is not important to him on a personal level but on the Honda corporate level. He stated Honda switching to all electric vehicles is taking place because the only way we as a society can move forward is for Honda to accelerate our conscious of coexisting with earth and in business have ethical behaviors to solve our global environmental problems. This is accomplished by reducing the environmental impact with the products Honda makes which will ultimately result in the safety and protection of our precious human lives.
Honda Target Goals by 2050
- Carbon neutral on all products and corporate activities
- Use clean energy (solar panels, windmills, etc.) to power all their facilities
- Resource recycling, that is, using the spent products to recycle and make new products. (This is what is also known as cradle to cradle recycling. Where waste, such as used cars and motorcycles, can be turned into new products or the waste can be returned directly to the earth and turn into clean and non-toxic dirt.)
- Vehicles will be all-electric, hydrogen and/or hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles
- Zero traffic collision fatalities involving Honda motorcycles and automobiles
- Produce and promote mobile battery packs
- Produce hydrogen fuel cells which can be used in vehicles and portable power supplies
- Manufacture and sell high-quality low-cost solid state batteries
- To begin to use their own manufactured solid state batteries in their vehicles by the late 2020s
- To make self-driving vehicles for urban mobility
- To make electric vehicles for land, air, water and space - including eVTOL aircraft for Urban Air Mobility
To achieve the goal of selling all electric vehicles, Honda plans on spending ¥5 trillion Yen ($45.7 trillion USD - May 4, 2021 exchange rate) in the next six years. Additional, they plan of making their top selling vehicles to be electric first and then continue with the rest of their vehicles to be powered by electricity.
At the time of Honda's April 22, 2021 press release, it does not discuss any details of the eVTOL aircraft nor does their Innovation web pages on Honda's global website discuss any type of electric aircraft that is planned for production, for Urban Air Mobility.
Using their graphics alone, we can surmise the Honda eVTOL uses Distributed Electric Propulsion with eight propellers for VTOL flight and uses two pusher propellers for forward flight. Whether it is piloted, semi-autonomous or fully autonomous is unknown but according to Honda's future plans, they are striving for zero accidents in all their vehicles which might indicate their eVTOL aircraft could be fully autonomous.
The aircraft looks as if it can hold between four to six people, has large windows for spectacular views, short wings holding the two booms for its VTOL propellers and uses retractable landing gear. The short wings holding the two VTOL booms will extend the range of the aircraft and it can be seen the rear wing is slightly wider then the front wing. The retractable landing gear will also improve the aerodynamic performance of the aircraft. While there is no tail on the aircraft, there are two vertical stabilizers attached near the rear of the aircraft, on the ends of the rear wing.
Honda seems to be predicting their eVTOL aircraft will be in service sometime after 2030.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL or hybrid-electric VTOL
- Piloting: Unknown, either piloted, semi-autonomous or fully autonomous
- Capacity: Unknown, possibly 4 to 6 people
- VTOL propellers: 8 VTOL propellers
- Forward flight propellers: 2 propellers for forward flight
- Electric motors: 10 electric motors
- Windows: The aircraft has taller windows than most standard aircraft, for spectacular views for the passengers
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber
- Wings: Two high wings with booms on the ends for VTOL propellers
- Tail: There is no tail for the aircraft but there are two vertical stabilizers at the end of the rear wing, near the rear of the aircraft
- Landing gear: Retractable landing gear
- Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft.
- Honda website
- Video: Honda, The Power of Dreams, Honda, Apr. 22, 2021
- Article: Summary of Honda Global CEO Inaugural Press Conference, Honda, Apr. 23, 2021
- Article: Honda Commits to Selling Only EVs and Fuel-Cell Vehicles by 2040, Car and Driver, Apr. 23, 2021
- Article: Honda details plans to sell electric vehicles only in North America by 2040, Detroit News, Apr. 23, 2021
- Article: Honda announces 100% ‘electric’ sales by 2040, but there’s a twist, Electrek, Apr. 23, 2021
- Article: Honda accelerates along EV road under new CEO Mibe, Nikkei Asia, Apr. 23, 2021