The Honda SUV e: prototype, which debuted at Auto Shanghai 2021 is evolving into a production Honda HR-V electric SUV available with two different names: Honda e:NS1 and Honda e:NP1. The compact EV could influence another Honda EV that arrives in the UK as a Kia e-Niro rival.
Jean-Marc Streng, President and Managing Director, Honda UK, has revealed to Auto Express that the second Honda EV in the UK will arrive in 2023. The British publication claims to have knowledge of the secret model and says that it is likely to be a crossover, similar to the SUV concept mentioned, and carries an illustration of the same in the scoop story.
Honda’s engineering boss had previously told Auto Express that the next Honda EV will be a compact SUV based on the mini car Honda e’s platform. If that’s true, it might not be the HR-V’s electric variant because the Honda e sits on an RWD platform, while HR-V EV (e:NS1 and e:NP1) is an FWD vehicle. However, the design of the SUV e: concept could inspire the UK-bound compact electric SUV.
Honda SUV e: prototype
In addition to a futuristic design, the Honda SUV e: prototype features the 3rd generation Honda CONNECT that works with a smartphone, supports OTA update, and has an advanced voice recognition interface. Honda did not detail the interior, charging, or the powertrain, but official footage briefly shows two large screens, one behind the steering wheel in place of the cluster and another in portrait orientation for AVN.
The design looks almost identical to the 2021 HR-V. It has the customary EV design elements such as a ‘closed’ front-end, unique lighting that includes a continuous LED strip that connects the headlamps, and aero-styled ORVMs. The Honda SUV e: prototype is an evolution of the Honda SUV e:concept (pictured below) that debuted at the Auto China 2020 (2020 Beijing Motor Show) in September. Its purpose was always to morph into a production electric SUV.
The Honda SUV e: prototype, which previews a Hyundai Ioniq 5 rival from Japan, has a funky yet aggressive design packaged in a compact body. Sharp headlamps, inward-angled nose, a large faux air inlet, high bonnet, straight lines, and a good ground clearance give the concept a powerful character.
The SUV e: prototype features LED headlamps, a light signature linking the headlamps, and a luminous logo. On the sides, it features large multi-spoke wheel hubs, light guides along the doors, and a gently dropping roofline.
Honda e:NS1 & Honda e:NP1
The Honda e:NS1 and Honda e:NP1, the production version of the Honda SUV e: prototype concept, is to release in Spring 2022. Their competitors will be small electric SUVs like the MG ZS EV (MG eZS), Kia e-Niro, and the Hyundai Kona EV.
Honda has subtly changed the front of the car, tweaking the headlamps and likely removing the extension of the LED DRLs. Moreover, there are familiar LED fog lights with squarish modules instead of the line-type LEDs in the lower bumper. The charging port is behind the Honda logo, which, unlike on the concept, doesn’t have a backlight.
The regular mirrors may not be as aerodynamic as the slim units of the concept, but they are practical. Regular ORVMs, unlike digital mirrors, don’t consume energy, cost less, and meet regulations widely. There will be two alloy wheel options: 17-inch and 18-inch.
The rear-end of the Honda e:NS1 and Honda e:NP1 has hints of the Porsche Cayenne if you look at the design of the connected tail lamps. The roof spoiler doesn’t feature a full-width third brake light, and the bumper has a new, straight chrome strip. Instead of the concept’s illuminated brand logo, there’s wide-spaced block lettering below the light strip. The e:NS1 sets itself apart from the e:NP1 with an additional rear spoiler that sits atop the full-width tail lamps.
The interior of the e:NS1 and e:NP1 is similar to the all-new HR-V, but it’s much more digital. It features a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument cluster and a 15.2-inch HD portrait touchscreen infotainment system, both unavailable in the internal combustion engine model. Other highlights include a Driver Monitoring Camera and Honda Connect 3.0 with 20+ connected vehicle functions.
The Honda e:NS1 is 4,390 mm long, 1,790 mm wide, and 1,560 mm tall, and it has a 2,610 mm wheelbase. Compared to the UK-spec HR-V Hybrid, it is 50 mm longer and 22 mm lower, and its width and wheelbase are the same. It will be available only in FWD, with 134 kW and 150 kW motor options. The Honda e:NP1 should have the same specifications.
The above specifications have come from a leak via China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Officially, we only know that the Honda e:NS1 and Honda e:NP1 will have a range of more than 500 km (311 miles) and be able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in under eight seconds. Additionally, there’s also a proprietary name for the modified vehicle platform: e:N Architecture F.
Honda electric SUV to release in Spring 2022
Honda has announced the launch of 10 EVs in China within five years, and its near-future EV launches from them will be the e:NS1 and e:NP1 in the spring of 2022. The company aims to achieve carbon neutrality with BEVs and FCEVs in China by 2040. It plans to change its entire line-up to BEVs and FCEVs in North America by 2040 and in Japan by 2030.
According to a report on autohome.com.cn, the Honda e:NS1 will have its stage debut at the Wuhan Auto Show on 21 October 2021. The Honda e:NP1 should also be present at the event.
Honda’s battery electric cars in Europe, USA & China
Honda currently has four pure electric vehicles (directly and indirectly) in showrooms globally, the Honda e hatchback in Europe and Japan and the Dongfeng-Honda X-NV & M-NV, and the GAC-Honda VE-1 SUVs in China. The SUVs are technically pure electric variants of the outgoing HR-V but don’t wear the Honda badge.
Further west, Honda and General Motors announced last year that they will jointly develop two new EVs for the Japanese auto major for sales in America. The SUV models from Honda (Honda Prologue) and Acura (name: TBA), underpinned by GM’s EV platform and designed by Honda, will be powered by GM’s Ultium batteries and will go on sale in the USA in 2024. Honda has set an initial sales target of 70,000 units for the Prologue and confirmed a limited availability in ZEV states at launch.
Images of the SUV e:concept from the Honda China website.