The retro Honda E electric hatchback won’t be replaced as the Japanese brand instead focuses on electric SUVs.
That’s the word from Rebecca Adamson, Head of Automobile at Honda Cars UK, who told Autocar the brand is following market demand.
“There won’t be more cars the size of the Honda E. I can say that confidently,” Ms Adamson told Autocar.
“The market demand in the UK is the SUV sector, so that’s why the focus is there. It’s a market-led product line-up. As long as that’s where the market is, we will continue to be SUV driven.”
Power in the Honda E comes from a rear-mounted motor with either 100kW or 113kW of power, along with 315Nm of torque.
The battery pack is a 35.5kWh lithium-ion unit, good for a claimed 220km of range.
The current E is offered in Japan and Europe, but isn’t offered in markets like Australia, China and North America.
Honda’s new HR-V-sized e:Ny1 electric SUV, in contrast, is being sold in Europe and China. It remains to be seen whether it will be offered in other markets, though it has been ruled out for Australia.
The company had projected 10,000 annual sales of the E in Europe, but in 2021 it sold just 3752 there. That’s despite fairly strong demand for similarly sized EVs there, such as the Peugeot e-208.
The company is rolling out different electric cars and SUVs depending on the market, but all are larger than the sub-4m long E hatchback apart from a handful of vehicles set to be exclusive to Japan.
They include an electric sedan from the Honda/Sony joint venture Afeela, entering production in 2025, plus a range of Chinese-market EVs and the North American Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX developed with General Motors.
Also due in North America in 2025 is a “mid- to large-size” EV on Honda’s new E&E Architecture.
The Japanese market will receive an N-VAN based commercial mini-EV in the first half of 2024, followed by an EV based on the N-ONE in 2025 and two small EVs in 2026. One of the latter will be an SUV.
Australia will be waiting a while for a Honda electric vehicle of any kind, however.
Honda Australia confirmed earlier this year it won’t offer any electric cars before 2028.
“Our electrification strategy is all about using hybrid to bridge to electrification in the future,” said Honda Australia boss Carolyn McMahon in March.
“We don’t have any plans at the moment to introduce EVs.
“When we take a look at the Australian readiness, or the Australian market’s ability to cope with electric, we don’t think it’s quite there.
“For us right now, we think hybrid is right, that’s not to say Honda won’t be looking at electric vehicles in the future.”
Ms McMahon’s remarks come in stark contrast with those of global CEO Toshihiro Mibe and COO Shinji Aoyama, who have been frank about the threat posed by Chinese brands and the need to roll out EVs promptly.
“They are ahead of us, even more than expected,” CEO Toshihiro Mibe said in remarks reported by Automotive News.
“We are thinking of ways to fight back. If not, we will lose this competition,” he added.
“We recognised we are slightly lagging behind, and we are determined to turn the tables.”