Radical-looking compact hatch will join Honda EV range
The line-up will be launched with a production version of the Saloon concept in 2026, followed shortly after by a closely related SUV model.
Although the firm has not given a timeframe for its continued expansion, bosses have confirmed that entry-level models will ultimately become a part of the range.
Honda's head of automobile operations Shinji Aoyama told Autocar: “Towards the end of the 2020s, that’s what we want to actualise.”
CEO Toshihiro Mibe concurred: “To increase volumes, we need more affordable EVs.” The firm’s work to reduce the cost and weight of the batteries in its electric cars will no doubt be crucial to the viability of small, affordable EVs.
However, Mibe suggested that “instead of reducing battery [size], we want to think about battery technology”, hinting at the possibility for different chemistries and technical solutions to play a role in this programme.
Honda previously agreed to share development of affordable EVs with longtime technical partner General Motors, but the $5 billion (£3.95bn) plan was scrapped late last year as the US company shifted its focus to more profitable segments.
Mibe said that “even if we jointly developed, it would have been a challenge” to bring an affordable EV to market at scale.
“We decided to work on the affordable EV on our own,” he added. “Honda has other alternative strategies to fulfil this.”
The firm recently hinted at its vision for a small, affordable EV with the Sustaina-C concept, a retro-styled EV that takes inspiration from the old Honda City and majors on sustainability with a recyclable acrylic bodyshell.
Shortly after, however, the brand confirmed that the similarly sized Honda E – its first electric car – would be pulled from sale after just three years, with nothing that size lined up to replace it for the foreseeable future.