Honda presented its first electric model for the Chinese market at the Guangzhou Auto Show. The compact SUV called VE-1 evokes the Honda HR-V model they based it on. It is also the series version of the Everus EV Concept Honda presented at the Auto China earlier in April.
Regularly the Honda HR-V comes with either petrol, diesel or hybrid drive. China is therefore the first country to receive the electric version of the model.
The Honda VE-1 electric motor delivers 120 kW. A 56-kWh battery pack provides a range of up to 340 km according to NEDC testing. The 4.3 x 1.8 x 1.6m model will go into production in December, with Honda and joint venture partner GAC handling local production. The price will be 170,800 yuan (around 21,500 euros) after subsidies.
Apart from selling to private customers, Honda also intends to use the VE-1 for the Chinese electric car sharing Reachda, in which they have a stake in since Honda invested the equivalent of around 9 million dollars last December reportedly. The money secured Honda ten percent of shares but to date Reachda relies on electric vehicles from Changan mostly.
In addition, Honda and GAC announced only last month their plan to build a joint plant in China for the production of electric cars and plug-in hybrids. The plant will have production capacity for 170,000 vehicles per year. Rather than aiming for a development cooperation alone though, the Japanese will use the joint venture to produce the compact SUV Trumpchi GS4 from GAC and distribute it under the Honda label in order to fulfil the new energy vehicle quota set to kick in by 2019.
Such a deal is not new and in fact looks much like another announcement made by GAC and Toyota in May. The Japanese carmaker said they would begin the sale of the ix4 from their joint venture partner GAC, while also expanding the production capacity for new energy vehicles by 35 percent over the next three years (we reported).