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With EVs, Honda may be North America's most committed automaker, for the moment

As the auto industry attempts to time its years-long, sprawling shift away from combustible engines to electric vehicles, some legacy car makers are playing up hybrids as a waystation along what is now more likely to be framed as a decades-long path. But at least one automaker says it is ramping up its North American EV strategy in 2024: Honda Motor Company.

This spring, there has been a flurry of announcements from the Japanese company, including an $11 billion investment in a Canadian EV hub — the company calls it a "comprehensive EV value chain" — and an EV transformation of Ohio operations.

Honda's EV moves come against the backdrop of EV pullbacks from other major auto manufacturers; and in some cases, shelved EV plans altogether. GMsaid it no longer will provide EV production targets so it can build to market demand, while Ford said it would delay about $12 billion in EV investments.

"Each manufacturer has their reasons for their direction," said Bob Nelson, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co.

Even as Honda commits more to EVs, its investment approach implies a hedging of bets. Nelson says a $700 million investment in creating the EV operations in Ohio gives the company latitude to tailor production to market conditions.

"The $700 million investment gives us the flexibility to produce ICE [internal combustion engine] and BEV [battery electric vehicle] on the same line. We think that is a smart strategy as the market continues to grow," Nelson said.

It's also being designed to build expertise, efficiencies and knowledge that can be shared across all of Honda's North American operations, including engineering and purchasing, and potentially around the world. "Having all of those functions and experience