Honda Will Team Up with This Company on EV Tech

2024 honda electric n van
Honda Is Teaming Up with This Company on EV TechHonda
  • Honda and Mitsubishi Corporation form joint venture dubbed Altna aimed at creating a circular economy for EV batteries in Japan in the coming years.

  • Altna plans to operate battery energy storage systems with repurposed EV batteries, as well as offer smart charging tech to customers in Honda's domestic market.

  • The joint venture will develop processes to address EV ownership costs as part of leasing EVs.

As Honda moves deeper into the EV sphere, it's already thinking about the days when electric-vehicle batteries will need to be replaced or repurposed.

Honda has teamed up with industrial giant Mitsubishi Corp. to create a 50/50 joint venture dubbed Altna Co. Ltd., which will aim to take on challenges in a decarbonized future when it comes to the battery value chain, energy storage, and EV ownership costs in Japan.


In all, the new joint venture will tackle quite a few different business directions, and some of them will be familiar to longtime EV enthusiasts.

"With an eye toward the future popularization of EVs, Honda is working toward the establishment of a vertically integrated EV value chain that includes all aspects of EV business, from the procurement of raw materials to the production of finished EVs, as well as the repurposing and recycling of EV batteries," said Toshihiro Mibe, Director, President and Representative Executive Officer of Honda.

When it comes to home EV charging, Altna plans to offer owners charging plans that will use advanced energy-control systems, allowing EVs to be automatically recharged during off-peak hours. In addition to developing vehicle-to-grid systems (V2G), Altna's charging services will seek to recharge EVs with renewable energy during hours when there will be a surplus.

The joint venture will also operate an EV battery leasing business in Japan, with the recently launched Honda N-VAN e: set to be the first electric vehicle to be part of this project.

When one of these small electric vans will be leased by a customer, Altna will still own the battery during the lease period, making EV usage more affordable for customers while monitoring battery operation during that period.

"Continuous monitoring of the battery conditions, including predictions of future battery deterioration, will enhance the reliability of the battery measured by various parameters, including the battery state of health (SOH)," Honda points out.

Once an EV battery has reached the end of its life cycle in an EV, Altna will be able to repurpose it for its battery energy storage system (BESS), which will represent another major business direction for the company in the Japanese market.

This will allow Altna to set vehicle lease prices with the expectation that EV batteries will later become part of a BESS, which should ease the cost of ownership for consumers.

From a wider perspective, Altna's ambitions look toward a future when grid optimization and BESS could be relatively commonplace, and when EV battery repurposing will be common as well.

That future is perhaps a few years away, closer to a decade by some estimates, and it also assumes that EV growth in Japan will permit such businesses to operate at scale even if not be immediately profitable.

Japan hasn't exactly been at the forefront of EV adoption in the current decade, even though Japanese automakers have experimented with EVs for decades.

In addition, BESS operations are still in their infancy, and automakers are trying to figure out ways to use them as parts of electrical grids while optimizing energy usage in a cost-effective manner.

It could be a while before Altna will be able to try repurposing used EV batteries at scale, as the N-VAN e: and other Honda EVs have hit the market recently.

Will battery energy storage systems become a common part of the grid in the 2030s, as older EVs retire, or will these types of systems fail to reach the predicted scale? Let us know what you think in the comments below.