Honda Just Vowed to Replace the NSX With Something Even Better
Honda will go all-in on electrification, including the launch of two all-electric sports car flagshipsby Robert Moore, on LISTEN 04:27
Honda has finally spilled the beans and laid out its electrification plans for the rest of this decade. Its plans are quite robust and even a little bold, with the goal of producing two million EVs annually on a global scale by 2023, introducing new solid-state battery technology, and – believe it or not – launching not one but two all-electric sports car flagships, one of which will be a successor to the NSX.
Honda’s Electric Future is Robust and Full of Ambition
Honda is aiming for net carbon neutrality by 2050, but understands that it needs to take a cautious approach to electrification in that it’s “not a mere replacing of engines with batteries.” This means that the company is going to plot a course that’s not only quick and efficient but also a bit unique. The company currently has a budget of around 8 trillion Yen, a portion of which will be spent on developing hydrogen powertrains and battery swapping technology – two things that will assist the company in phasing out combustion powertrains over the next decade. 5 trillion Yen will be reserved solely for “electrification and software technologies.” This isn’t little money either. 8 trillion Yen, at current exchange rates, computes to roughly $63,702,889 – quite a large budget, don’t you think?
This approach also leaves room for the company to start aiming toward that goal of producing 2 million EVs annually by 2030, the craziest of which is the launch of an all-electric successor to the Honda NSX. "Honda always has a passion to offer fun for its customers," the firm said, giving no details of the new sports cars but promising they will continue to offer a "sports mindset and distinctive characteristics".
This is very good news, and it comes right at the end of the current NSX’s lifecycle. As a third-gen model, the NSX featured a 573-horsepower, mid-mounted V-6, but 2022 is the very last year for its production, which would leave Honda without a proper flagship or supercar in its lineup…..again. This is the first official confirmation that Honda plans to remain in the supercar segment despite all the effort going into transforming the core of its business to keep up with the rest of the industry.
The news of Honda’s overall plan has been expected but largely absent. Other Japanese brands have already started to show their plans, with Toyota planning a new lightweight two-seater akin to the void left by the MR2. Lexus, Toyota’s luxury arm, is also working on not one but two successors to the LFA, and Nissan recently showed of a weird drop-top Max Out concept while Subaru showcases the STI E-RA with more than 1,000 horsepower on tap.
As for Honda in North America, things are going to move along kind of quickly at first. Two mid-to-large electric SUVs built in collaboration with General Motors will arrive in 2024. One will be called the Honda Prologue and the other will be sold under the Acura brand. Three years after that, Honda plans to launch an entire range of “affordable” EVs with “a cost and range that will be as competitive” as fuel-powered vehicles. The company will then launch a new EV factory in the United States.
In China, the company will really be ramping up its efforts by launching new less than 10 new EVS by 2027 while its home market will be the slowest to adapt. In Japan, Honda will launch a small commercial EV priced around $7,000 or so, and will later introduce larger passenger cars including a new electric SUV. On a global scale, Honda intends to end combustion car sales by 2040 at the latest.
All of this, however, will require some serious change at the technology level. Right now the company is sourcing lithium-ion batteries from various companies with GM being the main provider for future U.S.-built Honda vehicles. The company has started investing in and plans to bring to market solid-state batteries in the near future with production planned to kick off in the spring of 2024. By the second half of this decade, vehicles powered by solid-state batteries will be on the road. A new “e:architecture” EV platform will come sometime after that and will underpin an entire range of the brand’s future EVs.