Honda has introduced a new all-electric vehicle brand named “e:N”, and five new electric vehicles that will lead its plan to add 10 new EV models by 2026, including two production-ready electric SUVs and three concepts.
However, they will only be available in China for the time being. Honda already makes an electric model – the Honda e – which is available in Europe, but is not slated for Australia (word is though that there are a small number available locally as grey imports).
At an online event on Wednesday (China time), Honda said its global strategic goal is to achieve “carbon neutrality” and “zero fatalities in traffic accidents” by 2050. At the same time, the proportion of electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles in total sales will increase to 40% by 2030, 80% by 2035, and 100% by 2040.
Honda announced the new electric models via the Honda China Electrification Strategy Conference live broadcast. At the press conference, Honda officially launched a new pure electric brand “e:N” and unveiled three concept models and two mass-produced models at the same time.
Honda said that it will launch 10 new pure electric models in the next five years. In addition, Guangqi Honda and Dongfeng Honda will establish brand new electric vehicle factories respectively, and will officially put them into production in 2024.
At the press conference, Honda also revealed that it will continue to deepen its cooperative relationship with Chinese battery maker CATL – which provides cobalt-free lithium-iron phosphate batteries to Tesla – and jointly develop high-performance batteries with the company.
The “e” in Honda’s new pure electric vehicle brand “e:N” stands for energize and electric, while the “N” stands for new and next. Honda said that e:N will bring new value experiences of “movement”, “intelligence” and “beauty” to Chinese customers.
Honda’s “E:N Architecture” will, says the carmaker, integrate high-efficiency, high-power drive motors, large-capacity, high-density batteries, and a dedicated frame and chassis platform. Additionally, it will offer two different driving architectures called “e:N Architecture F” and “e:N Architecture W”.
Honda also wants to move into the arena of “smart cars”, and as such has created a full-stack intelligent control ecosystem “e:N OS” that integrates Honda Sensing, Honda Connect, and smart digital cockpits.
Among them, Honda Sensing 360 will be equipped with more than 20 intelligent driving assistance functions. On the basis of the existing monocular camera, 5 millimeter-wave radars have been added to the front and corners of the car to achieve 360-degree sensing, thereby covering the blind spots to help with collision avoidance with other vehicles and pedestrians.
Design-wise, the sharp body lines of the new concepts are a long jump from the cute and friendly design of the Honda e, and rather evoke the dynamic and bold lines of models like the Honda Civic, drawing a line of familiarity between the past and present.
The exterior lighting system creates a unique intelligent experience of e:N, providing a futuristic intelligent beauty like a human-vehicle dialogue.
The two new production models – named the e:NS1 and the e:NP1 – will go on sale in the Spring 2022, are built based on the e:N Architecture F architecture, with a maximum driving range of over 500km.
In terms of interior and configuration, the two new cars are equipped with a 15.2-inch high-definition ultra-thin frame central control screen and a 10.25-inch colour full LCD digital instrument panel.
Honda Connect 3.0 integrates more than 20 functions such as AI voice assistant, car home interconnection, and OTA. The two new cars are also equipped for the first time with the DMC driver state perception system, which can effectively recognize the driver’s state and even detect changes in emotions, thereby actively reminding the driver.
Three more electric models in the e:N series will follow by 2026 in the form of an electric SUV, GT and coupe.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.
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