Honda announces a pair of high-performance EVs in $40B drive

Honda reaffirmed its commitment to releasing several electric vehicles during the 2020s in global markets. It also published an enigmatic sketch that shows a pair of high-performance EVs, and it announced plans to increase its investment in solid-state battery technology.

“The joy of driving will be passed on to our models even in the era of electrification,” the company pledged during the announcement. It noted that its range of battery-powered cars will include two sports cars. One is labeled a “specialty” model and the other is referred to as a “flagship” model. Both are hidden under a black sheet, but the specialty model looks like it might arrive as a coupe with a fastback-like silhouette. We’ve seen something like it before: Honda unveiled a concept called Sports EV in 2017 at the Tokyo Auto Show. It doesn’t take a significant leap of the imagination to speculate that we could be looking at the production version. If that’s the case, it seems like much as changed over the past five years; the front end is lower and sharper, the A-pillars have more rake, and the roof line has been flattened.

Those cars are part of a huge effort to spend $40 billion over the next 10 years on electrification as Honda develops production capacity for 2 million EVs annually by 2030. Some will be made in China — Honda will build dedicated EV plants in Guangzhou and in Wuhan — and others will be manufactured in the United States, where an EV-only production line is in the planning stages.

Honda is developing a software-defined EV platform called e:Architecture, to launch in 2026 for large battery electric cars.

As for today’s announcement, the car under the sheet could be something else entirely. As for the flagship model, it features the kind of proportions we’d normally associate with a car powered by a mid-mounted engine — like, say, the Acura NSX, which is sold as a Honda in most global markets. Production of the current, second-generation model is about to end, but an Acura executive stressed that “there’s gonna be another one” and strongly hinted that it will be electric. Here again, this is pure speculation, and official details haven’t been released as of writing.

It’s also too early to tell if either EV will use the solid-state battery technology that Honda is developing. The firm promised to accelerate its research program by investing about 43 billion yen (around $342 million) to build what it calls a demonstration line that should be operational in the spring of 2024. If all goes according to plan, the next-generation batteries will reach production in the second half of the 2020s.

Until then, Honda remains on track to release an electric crossover called Prologue during the 2024 calendar year. We haven’t seen it yet, but we know that it will be built by General Motors using chassis and powertrain technology developed by the American carmaker. Acura will receive a version of the model as well. And, in Japan, Honda aims to release a range of mini EVs (including an SUV) starting in 2024.

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