Is Honda’s GM-powered electric car, the Honda Trailsport?

Honda and General Motors have announced that they will develop two new EVs for Honda that will be built upon GM’s EV platform and will go on sale in the USA in 2023. The new EVs will have their exteriors and interiors exclusively designed by Honda, while riding on GM’s EV platform powered by the brand’s Ultium batteries.

The brands have not disclosed the shape of the vehicle, but given the buyer trend and preference for higher practicality, at least one of them would be a crossover-SUV. Honda filed a trademark application for the name ‘Trailsport’ in the USA on 18 June 2020, and this could be one of the names in consideration for the upcoming electric model.

Honda, the hybrid vehicle expert, currently sells just two electric vehicles globally – the Honda e hatchback in Europe and the GAC-Honda VE-1 in China. It has several global chart-toppers powered by petrol engines, including the CR-V, HR-V, Civic and Accord.

The new EVs from the joint venture will be manufactured at the GM plants in North America and sales are expected to begin in 2024 model year in the American and Canadian markets. Collaboration between GM and Honda is not new as both the brands have been working fuel cells and the electric shared self-driving vehicle, Cruise Origin. In 2018, Honda also started to work on GM’s battery module development.

Executive Vice President of American Honda Motor Co., Inc, Rick Schostek has said that apart from strengthening both brands, this relationship will help the companies to be efficient in scale and manufacturing. Both GM and Honda are already engaged in talks for possibilities of extending their partnership. According to Doug Parks, GM Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, the partnership will deliver a profitable EV business with increased scale and capacity utilization.

GM Ultium battery
GM’s Ultium batteries utilize large-format pouch-style cells that can be stacked horizontally or vertically inside the battery pack, allowing for better vehicle layout design and energy storage.

Honda will also incorporate GM’s OnStar safety & security services into the jointly developed electric vehicles, featuring them in the HondaLink system that connects users’ smartphones with the car’s infotainment. The companies stated that Honda will make GM’s hands-free advanced driver-assist tech available on the cars.

Last month, General Motors revealed their latest battery, the Ultium and a third-generation EV platform. The Ultium batteries can be had in the range of 50 kWh to 200 kWh, with a maximum range of up to 640 km. The batteries have been designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging with 400V battery packs supporting up to 200 kW fast-charging and the 800V battery packs supporting up to 350 kW fast-charging. GM’s platform can deliver as much as 400 miles of travel range with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of about 3 seconds.

GM’s new EV platform gets a modular architecture and is suited for a wide range of cars, SUVs, crossovers, trucks and commercial vehicles. The platform can also accommodate motors for front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, all-wheel-drive and performance-oriented vehicles.