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Electric vehicles have come a long way since the first concept cars of the 1970s and ‘80s – who can forget the famous Sinclair C5? – and today, a growing number of major manufacturers are offering electrical options as a viable city car alternative.

The announcement that Honda is teaming up with one of the biggest names in home electronics is an indication of just how mainstream electric cars are likely to become over the next several years.

Memorandum of Understanding

Back in February, Honda and Hitachi signed a Memorandum of Understanding that could mark a watershed in automotive technology. The deal brought into existence a new company called Hitachi Automotive Motor Systems Limited, which will be exclusively focused on the development, manufacturing and sale of electrical motors for vehicles. 

Multi-million-pound investment 

Each of the Japanese conglomerates has ploughed investment of some five billion yen – roughly equivalent to £34 million each – into the venture, with Hitachi taking a 51 per cent majority shareholding.

The new company will be based at Hitachi Automotive Systems’ existing facility in Hitachinaka-shi, located in the northern Kantō region of Japan. 

The venture is the second major project that Honda has invested in this year. The company has already announced that it is investing a similar sum in a joint venture with General Motors to create a company called Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC.   

Preparing for the future

With the infrastructure in place, both Honda and Hitachi are in a perfect position to be leaders in alternative fuel technology and to react to market trends. Neither company has been drawn on committing to a timescale or commenting on the volumes of electrical motors that will be manufactured. They simply say that they will respond to the growing global demand from automobile manufacturers. 

 

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