Honda unveils its first pure electric SUV, the SUV e:concept [update]

The 2020 Beijing Auto Show hosted the world premiere of a new Honda electric car called the ‘Honda SUV e:concept’ last month. Now, we have real world images of the new electric SUV concept, which previews a Hyundai Ioniq 5 rival from Japan.

The Honda SUV e:concept has a funky yet aggressive design packaged in a compact body. Razor-sharp headlamps and tail lamps, inward-angled nose, large faux air inlets and outlets, high bonnet, straight lines and high ground clearance give the concept a very powerful character. On the other hand, the 3-door format, dropping roof line, rakish back glass and the compact form factor is quite different from the traditional SUV design ingredients. The production variant would have the practicality of rear doors.

The Honda SUV e:concept features LED headlamps, a light signature linking the headlamps and a large luminous logo. On the sides, it features large multi-spoke wheel hubs while at the rear, the tail lamps are connected via an LED light stripe. The dropping roofline and the extremely rakish back glass may affect the rear seat comfort, which matters to Chinese customers. However, BEVs allow the advantage of better interior packaging, so maybe there isn’t a significant compromise on that aspect. Also consider that this is a concept and its design elements would ‘filtered’ in the production car to offer the full practicality of a family car.

For the interior, a black and white combination is applied, and the centre console is a large-area curved area hosting the AVN unit. The square steering wheel and the large touch screen are the basic elements of the concept car here.

Honda to sell battery electric cars in Europe, USA & China

Honda, a strong proponent of hybrid car technology, has confirmed that the Honda SUV e:concept won’t stay as a concept for long. The concept indicates the direction of the mass-production model of Honda’s first EV for China, the company says. The production model is likely to be on the market within 2 years.

Besides the EV concept, Honda has unveiled new CR-V Sport Hybrid with plug-in hybrid technology at the 2020 Beijing Auto Show.

Honda Motor Company currently has three pure electric vehicles on sale globally, the Honda e hatchback in Europe and Japan and the Dongfeng-Honda X-NV and the GAC-Honda VE-1 SUVs in China. The SUVs are technically pure electric variants of the Honda HR-V but don’t use the Honda badge.

Honda and General Motors announced this year that they will jointly develop two new EVs for the Japanese auto major for sales in America. The models, underpinned by GM’s EV platform and designed by Honda, will be powered by GM’s Ultium batteries and will go on sale in the USA in 2023.

Neither Honda, nor GM revealed the body shape of the EVs, but one of them is likely to be an SUV, given the buyer preference across the world. Earlier this year, the Japanese company filed for a trademark application for the badge Honda Trailsport in the USA. This could be the name of one of the upcoming electric vehicles the company launches along with GM. Note that it has no relation with the Honda SUV e:concept.

Honda has not spoken about plans for pure electric vehicles in India, though a media report recently speculated on the possibility of a B-Segment electric vehicle. Honda Cars India’s first locally-manufactured hybrid vehicle (Honda City Hybrid) is due in 2021.

Images of the SUV e:concept from the Honda China website.