First the Honda NSX was petrol-powered, then it was resurrected as a hybrid. In its next life, it could be an electric supercar.
Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe told Autocar “at the R&D centre, we have a sports car”.
He said Honda is “doing a good analysis” of the current electric sports car market, though he didn’t name which vehicles the company is benchmarking the new car against.
He didn’t share any further details about the electric flagship, apart from confirming that work is “steadily proceeding” on its development.
“We have not decided on mass production or timing, but, personally, I would like to make it happen,” he said.
Mibe-san says the electric sports car will be fun to drive but “have a completely different taste” from sporty Hondas of the past.
Autocar reports the electric sports car would serve as the flagship to the 0 Series of electric vehicles (EVs), of which two have been revealed in concept form.
These comprise the low-slung wedge-shaped Saloon and the Space-hub, a boxy people mover. The first production model from the 0 Series will debut in 2026.
Honda has “no plans” to bring the 0 Series to Australia, casting doubt on if we’d see an NSX successor as well.
The NSX successor will reportedly flaunt a minimalist, cab-forward design with an interior aimed at cutting distractions, as seen on the 0 Series concepts.
Propulsion for the future NSX will reportedly come from “e-axle’ drive units that combine the electric motors, inverters and gearbox, saving space.
Autocar also reports the batteries will be “significantly slimmer” than the units found in current Honda electric vehicles (EVs).
These latest remarks by the Honda CEO are not the first time we’ve heard whispers of a new NSX, however.
Honda’s premium brand Acura previewed the Performance Electric Vision Design Study last year, which could be a teaser of what to expect for a next-generation NSX.
Acura says it was created by its Los Angeles design studio and “further explores the future evolution of Precision Crafted Performance design language as the performance brand transitions to a zero-emissions future”.
Prior to the Acura design study, Honda pledged in 2022 to invest around five trillion yen (A$53.7b) in electrification and software technology and, as part of that announcement, teased two sports cars.
It’s possible one of the concepts shown could be the sports car Mibe-san is referencing.
Honda has hinted before it would offer electric power in its next NSX.
In 2021, Acura general manager Jon Ikeda told The Drive there will be a third-generation NSX and it will likely be electric.
“The first-gen was gas. Second-gen was a hybrid. There’s gonna be another one,” said Mr Ikeda.
He noted Honda likes to “make an NSX when there’s something we want to say”.
Toshihiro Mibe has remained a vocal advocate for performance cars even as the company slowly transitions to making EVs. According to Autocar, he called the recently revealed Prelude concept an example of “Honda’s unalterable sports mindset”.
The Prelude concept was revealed at last year’s Tokyo motor show, and according to overseas reports, could enter production in 2028.
Honda indicated at the concept’s reveal the vehicle was electrified, and Honda America’s public relations manager subsequently confirmed it features a hybrid powertrain – not an electric one, as some had speculated.
At present Honda has a smattering of EVs in its range, though none of them are sold here as the company instead focuses on hybrids.
Depending on the market, it offers a pair of HR-V-based SUVs, the soon-to-be axed E hatch, and the Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX crossovers.
The last two vehicles are North American models designed by Honda but built by General Motors on GM underpinnings.