Honda targets people who don't want to drive with micro cars
At first glance you might think you’re looking at a photo booth on wheels or a golf cart.
But this is the kind of machine Japan’s Honda Motor Co. is hoping will snag the company a brand new automotive audience - people who don’t want to drive.
The car-maker says it’s considering a range of self-driving electric vehicles targeted at groups including elderly people who no longer drive but still want to get around and the younger, Gen Z crowd which isn’t interested in owning or driving traditional cars.
Honda said it expects growing demand for such casual vehicles, which it calls micromobility devices, as taxi and home delivery services struggle with staff shortages and as more elderly people seek to remain socially active. The world’s third-largest economy is grappling with a decline in able workers due to an aging population.
Honda has launched a range of concept cars including the rectangular vehicle for four and a two-seater mini-car to test the idea, and plans to make the technology available for general use in 2030.
The Tokyo-based company has joined other Japanese automakers seeking to catch up with Tesla Inc. and Chinese companies that have roared ahead in the growing global EV market. It has joined forces with Sony Group Corp. to make premium EVs in North America by 2025.
Decarbonization efforts by Japan’s three biggest car-makers rank the lowest in the world, according to a Greenpeace study released in September. It also lags behind others in adoption rates, with just 3% of new car sales in the third quarter being electric ones, compared to 14% in Europe and 22% in China, figures collated by the government show.