Honda Commits to E.V.s With Big Investment in Canada

Honda Motor on Thursday said it and several suppliers would invest $11 billion to build batteries and electric cars in Ontario, a significant commitment from a company that has been slow to embrace the technology.

Like Toyota and other Japanese carmakers, Honda has emphasized hybrid vehicles, in which gasoline engines are augmented by electric motors, rather than cars powered solely by batteries. The Honda Prologue, a sport-utility vehicle made in Mexico, is the company’s only fully electric vehicle on sale in the United States.

But the investment adjacent to the company’s factory in Alliston, Ontario, near Toronto, is a shift in direction, raising the possibility that Honda and other Japanese carmakers could use their manufacturing expertise to push down the cost of electric vehicles and make them affordable to more people.

“This is a very big day for the region, for the province and for the country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at an announcement event in Alliston, where Honda manufactures the Civic sedan and CR-V S.U.V. The investment, which will create 1,000 new jobs, is the largest by an automaker in Canadian history, he said.

The company is also retooling its flagship factory in Marysville, Ohio, near Columbus, to produce electric vehicles in 2025. Along with LG Energy Solution, a Korean company, Honda is investing $4.4 billion in a new battery factory in Jeffersonville, Ohio.

The additional investment in Canada is a sign that Honda expects the technology to become more popular, despite a recent slowdown in sales. The factory in Ontario will be able to produce as many as 240,000 electric vehicles a year when it begins operations in 2028, Honda said. By 2040, Honda plans for all its vehicles to be electric, a firmer commitment than other Japanese carmakers have made.

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