Atsushi Ogata is all smiles when asked if Honda will deepen its partnership with Yamaha. Four years ago, when the two decided to team up for manufacture of 50cc scooters in Japan, he had played a key role in the talks.

It was only natural to think aloud then about taking this alliance to the next level, especially when partnerships were now the new norm in the auto industry. Eventually, of course, Honda Motor established the EV battery management consortium which includes the other Big 3 — Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki — to jointly do a feasibility study. “How to establish a healthy EV business first in Japan is important. If there is some positive evidence to show, exporting to other regions could be the next step,” says Ogata. It is his view that EVs are better suited in Japan’s B2B space.

This may also be true for India where the internal combustion engine will still have a big role to play in the mass commuter segment. “There is no clear answer today but I want to discuss with other OEMs to make a feasibility study on how to establish a new business in India for EVs,” says Ogata.