The Japanese carmaker Honda has presented its first electric SUV for the Chinese market. The company has also revealed three futuristically designed concept studies. All of these are to lead to series production vehicles within the next five years and could be up for export.
It has been clear for some time that Honda is working on an electric SUV for China. In September 2020, there was a first concept study, and this April, Honda unveiled a near-production version, the ‘e:prototype’.
The visual changes to the now unveiled production model are limited. The headlights of the model called e:NP1 are a little more conventional, but the basic features of the study remain the same. The front doors now have conventional handles, the openers of the rear doors are hidden in the C-pillar as in the Honda small electric car.
The ‘e’ in the name is supposed to refer to the label ‘e:Technology’, under which Honda summarises its electrified drives. The ‘N’ is supposed to stand for ‘now and next’ and thus symbolise the “new value creation for the next mobility generation”, as the Japanese company explains.
The next generation, however, is still based on the current one: according to the British automotive publication Autocar, the technical basis for the e:NP1 and the somewhat sportier sister model e:NS1 is the Honda HR-V. Honda is officially bringing two models, as they will be built by different China joint ventures (one by Dongfeng Honda and one by GAC Honda) – i.e. similar to what VW does with the ID.4 X and ID.4 Crozz. Both models are scheduled for market launch in spring 2022. Technical data on the powertrains are not yet mentioned.
Honda emphasises that the models of the ‘e:N’ series use an architecture that was “developed exclusively for electric vehicles”. The e:NP1 and e:NS1, for example, stand out due to their long, combustion engine-like front bonnets.
The three studies are called e:N Coupé, e:N SUV and e:N GT and stand for the segments that give them their names. Again, there are no performance data or other technical details yet. All three feature a similar design that contrasts strongly with the two more conventional production models. Not only is the front with its wraparound LED daytime running lights extremely angular, but the rest of the body is also drawn with many straight lines and and angles.
The three concepts should lead to corresponding production models within five years. So far, these electric models – and also the e:NP1 and e:NS1 – have only been confirmed for China. However, Honda says that it will “introduce 10 models of the e:N series in the next 5 years and also intends to export these models from China”.
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