Honda might be a little late to the EV party, so it’s bringing along some sharp-edged cars to help muscle its way onto the scene.
The e:N GT, e:N Coupe and e:N SUV concepts were unveiled at an event in China overnight. All three are based on the e:N Architecture that’s currently under development.
The concepts establish a new design theme that highlights the “beauty unique only to EVs” and are said to offer “styling that lets people feel the future upon the first glance and touch of these vehicles”.
No specifics about the platform, drivetrains or battery packs have been announced yet, but the automaker promises a “sense of unity between the driver and the vehicle” that’s supposedly “unique to Honda”, as well as a “sporty and exhilarating driving experience”.
Honda’s goal is “to start sales of these new models within the next five years”. To that end it is building two new dedicated EV factories – one with each of its Chinese partners – that will come online from 2024.
Earlier this year, Honda announced it would sell only pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars from 2040 onwards.
It’s unclear if the design theme from the three e:N concepts will also be used on the two US-specific EVs Honda is developing.
Due to launch in 2023, these Honda and Acura models are based on GM’s Ultium platform and will be built by the General.
In addition to the e:N GT, Coupe and SUV show cars, Honda also had customised versions of the e:NS1 and e:NP1 electric crossovers on show today.
The e:NS1 and e:NP1 are based extensively on the latest HR-V and will go on sale in China from the second quarter of 2022 through Dongfeng Honda and GAC Honda partnerships.
Aside from a new and yet-to-be-detailed electric drivetrain, the two HR-V-derived cars also sport new grilles, bumpers and lights. An italicised Honda word mark also replaces the familiar H logo on the tailgate.
The e:N sub-brand is said signify both electrification and newness. It’s unclear if it will be employed throughout the world, or only in China.
It should be noted Honda has used the e:HEV name to denote the HR-V’s hybrid drivetrain in Europe and Japan.
For the Chinese market, the e:NS1 and e:NP1 will be sold through dedicated sections within 1200 showrooms across the country. The automaker plans to launch dedicated e:N dealerships in major cities at a later date.
The three concepts and two pre-production cars unveiled today form part of the company’s aggressive push into the EV arena, with a total of 10 EV models to be launched in China within the next five years.
Honda says it “envisions” exporting some of these EVs from China, although it has yet to declare which models will need to get their passports ready.
The company has also promised to “no longer introduce any new gasoline-powered models” in China after 2030.