The rest of the auto show circuit may have shut down due to the pandemic, but it’s business as usual in Beijing – and at the Auto China 2020 trade fair this week, Honda presented the Honda SUV “e: concept” study for the first time.
The electric SUV concept, which Honda first teased some weeks ago is a world away from Honda’s first electric car, the Honda-e, which began deliveries in Europe this year.
Design-wise it is more akin to a standard SUV design in the style of its popular CR-V, albeit with a more assertive and dynamic stance, and is intended to give an outlook on an electric car planned for the highly lucrative Chinese market.
Honda says the new e:concept is intended as a “fresh and fun” all-electric vehicle which would include the company’s next generation of safety and driver assistance systems, including an omni-directional “sensing” system with “improved recognition, prediction and decision-making performance” that the company says it will demonstrate by the end of 2020.
The latest version of the Honda Connect infotainment system with digital assistance functions and high connectivity is also on board.
Technical details of the Honda SUV e: concept were not disclosed. Based on the specifications of the brand’s current electric Honda-e, the upcoming battery-powered SUV may not offer a long range: the maximum 113 kW Honda e can only manage 220 kilometres on one charge in accordance with the WLTP standard.
In the Honda-e’s design and development, its compact design, the drive and the dynamics, the design and infotainment as well as the connectivity were more important than the range, according to Honda. A similar strategy is likely to be pursued with the Honda SUV e: concept.
If Honda pursues this approach, it may not do well in the Australian market even if it eventually makes it here, up against the 64kWh Hyundai Kona Electric which has 480km driving range.
But more likely to be presented in Australia is another electrified option unveiled in China – a plug-in hybrid CR-V that will go on sale in China in 2021.
The CR-V PHEV with a greater all-electric range is scheduled to launch next year, initially in China. There is no specific information yet, Honda only promises high efficiency and a driving experience similar to that of an electric car.
Honda announced at the end of last year that it transition to e-mobility in Europe, but to date has not made any announcements with regards to electrification in Australia (we have reached out to Honda and will update you as more infromation comes to hand).
Six electrified models are to be launched in Europe by 2022, two of which are already on the market with the Honda-e and the hybrid Honda Jazz. It remains to be seen whether the now presented Honda SUV e: concept will also be sold to European or Australian customers.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.