It's a pity the Honda E may not come to Australia
The head of Honda details their scepticism on the true demand of battery-powered electric vehicles.
Australia is considered one of the most competitive markets for vehicles, which does seem at odds with just how comparatively small our sales are in our little corner of the world. Every year, roughly one million vehicles are sold in Australia, which is a paltry amount when you compare light vehicle sales to a country such as the behemoth United States.
Even at the height of the US recession in 2009, annual sales in the US still amounted to 10 million vehicles. While the US consumes cars like a professional hotdog eater, Australia rocks back on its chair, holding its belly and exhaling while it tells everyone to just "give it a second".
Considering the size of the Australian car market, and how Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo is reportedly lukewarm on the true demand of the Honda EV, it comes as little surprise that reports from CarAdvice.com.au suggest that the vehicle may not even arrive on our shores.
A pity, as I've written previously on my curiosity about what magic Honda can do to the EV segment; magic that's not just limited to their seats.
Electric Vehicles do face a number of challenges in Australia, with some perhaps considering our culture and "desire for adventure" to be a great hurdle to surmount for a little car with little travelling range. Although, if I were to pinpoint a more prominent reason, the factor of "value" would be the highest wall to scale.
EVs are just so expensive right now. Yes, given time, the market will develop technologies and eventually bring the price down for regular, everyday consumers, but in the meantime buying what is likely an expensive vehicle that potentially has less versatility than, say, a Mazda 3, then Joe and Jill EveryFamily isn't going to give the slightest of glances at Honda's inner-city trolley.
And it bears repeating; it's a pity.
Despite Australian's much-vaunted love for adventure, the city commute would be within the charging range of many Electric Vehicles. There is some potential that our dual-car households could perhaps have an EV as their inner-city runabout, but keep their Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger to the side for those rare, but thrilling, adventures into the wilderness of some camping ground.
But, because our market is so relatively small, and reportedly so competitive, introducing a car that is too different and too expensive will likely make many of ours heads fizz.
It could be suggested that being the first-mover in a vehicle segment that is potentially on the cusp of a boom would benefit a vehicle such as the Honda E. Although I am sure that Mitsubishi might have a few words of objection about that idea.
Sadly, in a risk-averse world, the numbers crunched by professionals (who view dollars and risk matrices with the cold and heartless stare of a computer), will almost always result in Australia only receiving the most milquetoast cars, or the vehicles that are well-received elsewhere in the world beforehand.
It's a shame, because it means that we miss out on little curios such as the Honda E, and we stand to never know that thrill of tasting something new and exciting.
Just give us a minute, Honda. We're not all competitive eaters.