Honda’s local boss has ruled out an Australian introduction for the CR-V Hybrid shown in ‘prototype’ form at this year’s Frankfurt motor show, but the brand hasn’t turned its back on bringing electric vehicles Down Under in the not-too-distant future.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the Australian launch of the Civic Type R hot hatch, Stephen Collins, director of Honda Australia, said the low local take-up of hybrid vehicles and a lack of government incentives mean the electrified SUV doesn’t really stack up for our market.
“We have no current or immediate plans to bring in the CR-V Hybrid. We’re quite happy with the current line-up and the 1.5 turbo,” he said.
“Our view is that the current hybrid market in Australia is less than one per cent of the total vehicle market. Really, without substantial incentives (from the government) much like there are in many other markets around the world, our interest is unlikely to grow significantly in the short term.”
“Hybrid is certainly still a part of Honda’s global strategy. But unlike, say, Japan, where there are big customer incentives from the government, we think demand is going to limited in the foreseeable future,” he added.
In Australia, the fifth-generation CR-V is exclusively available with the company’s new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine (above), which develops 140kW of power and 240Nm of torque.
Other markets, such as Thailand, get options like a 119kW/350Nm 1.6-litre turbo-diesel – though this powertrain has also been ruled out for Australia.
However, Collins didn’t shy away from the prospect of bringing the company’s upcoming electric vehicles (EVs), which have already been previewed by the popular Urban EV concept (above) at the Frankfurt motor show earlier this year.
“We’re certainly looking closely at electric in our local line-up. It will just take time for it to arrive in reasonable scale,” he said.
“Having suitable infrastructure is one and like the situation with hybrid technology without particular customer incentives by the government it would be difficult to get any reasonable volume.”
“But we’re looking at some options for those types of vehicles that we can bring to the market that show Honda technology in that (electric) space,” Collins added.
Honda recently teased the Sports EV concept (above) ahead of its reveal at the Tokyo motor show at the end of the month, which again should feature new-age electric technology fused with retro styling.
A production version of the Urban EV concept should hit the global market around 2019, though it’s unclear whether the forthcoming Sports EV concept will also spawn a production variant.