• Kyodo

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Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it will start selling its first mass-produced electric car on Oct. 30 in Japan as part of its drive to electrify a large portion of its vehicles over the next decade.

The new “Honda e” four-seater compact, with a suggested retail price starting from ¥4.51 million ($42,500), has a driving range of up to 283 km under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Procedure standard, Honda said.

While its range is considerably lower than larger electric vehicles including Tesla Inc.’s lowest-priced Model 3 and Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf, the Honda e features the latest information technology such as smartphone-controlled door locks and starter, the company said.

The car can also be equipped with a side camera mirror system and an automatic parking feature, it said.

The Honda e’s top version will carry a price tag of ¥4.95 million. The model is eligible for central and local government subsidies.

Honda, which expects to sell 1,000 units a year of the model, launched it in Europe earlier this month with an annual sales target set at 10,000 units.

Honda is aiming for EVs, fuel-cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids and other hybrids to account for two-thirds of its cars sold globally by 2030.

Nissan has pursued EVs more aggressively than its domestic rivals, though European brands are more quickly catching up with Tesla and Chinese manufacturers.

In July, Nissan unveiled its new Ariya crossover EV to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021 and other major markets including North America, Europe and China by the end of that year.

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce a small electric two-seater mainly targeted at older drivers later in the year in Japan. Toyota, which sold over 9.7 million vehicles in 2019, aims to boost its global sales of EVs including hybrid cars to 5.5 million units by 2025.

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