(Reuters) -Honda Motor Co is considering building an electric vehicle plant in Canada in a near-2-trillion-yen ($13.83 billion) project that could possibly include in-house production of batteries, Japan’s Nikkei news group reported on Sunday.
The project could be one of Honda’s largest investments, the report said.
Honda declined to comment on the report, saying there was nothing it could disclose at this time. Japan’s second-biggest car maker has been slow to step up sales of electric vehicles.
Canada’s industry minister’s office said in a statement to Reuters that reports about Honda looking to make a significant investment in Canada speaks to the quality of the country’s workforce and the strength of its industry.
“It is a testament to Canada’s growing reputation as a green supplier of choice and global EV leader,” the spokesperson said.
Battery powered vehicles accounted for less than 0.5% of Honda’s worldwide sales of about 2.8 million cars over the first nine months of 2023, according to company data.
The Japanese automaker is looking at multiple potential sites for the plant, including next to an existing automobile factory in Ontario, Nikkei said, adding that Honda expects to come to a decision by the end of the year and the new plant could start as soon as 2028.
Honda already has plans to begin production and sales of EVs in North America in 2026, based on its new Honda e:Architecture.
The automaker, with partner LG Energy Solution, in 2022 announced Ohio as the site of a planned $4.4 billion joint-venture battery plant.
In October 2023, Honda and General Motors said they were scrapping a plan to jointly develop affordable electric vehicles, a year after they agreed to work together in a $5 billion effort to try to beat Tesla in sales.
($1 = 144.6500 yen)
(Reporting by Divya Rajagopal in Toronto, Juby Babu in Bengaluru and Daniel Leussink in Tokyo; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Susan Fenton, Leslie Adler and Michael Perry)