Honda will debut a new series of electric cars, the Honda Zero, which will be released in 2026
The automaker has announced a new line of sleek electric cars called the Honda Zero, pitching them as a counter to the recent trend of “fat and heavy” electric cars on the road today. This is reported by The Verge.
Honda will introduce its first model based on a sleek, sedan-like concept called the Saloon in 2026.
In addition to the sedan, Honda also unveiled a van concept called the Space-Hub. The concepts are meant to showcase Honda’s lightweight approach to electric vehicle development, which is based on a “thin” vehicle architecture with a low floor that aims to emphasize aerodynamics.
“Thin”, “light” and “wise” are the three principles behind the development of the Honda Zero EV series. The automaker emphasized an engineering approach to the development of the model range from scratch, including the new H-mark logo. According to experts, it will be placed exclusively on electric cars of the next generation.
Exactly how Honda plans to achieve this new weightlessness in its next-generation electric vehicles is still unknown. Many electric vehicles entering the US market this year are large, heavy SUVs and trucks. The trend complements a broader trend in car buying that has seen some companies stop making sedans altogether. But Honda seems to see a different path, especially for smaller and lighter cars.
The company is also collaborating with Sony on the design and development of the Afeela electric car, which was first unveiled at CES last year. The Afeela will also enter the North American market by 2026, although there is no word on whether it is related to the Honda Zero line.
The sedan has a lean fastback shape with unique rectangular front and rear lights reminiscent of the vintage Black & Decker Dustbuster. The car looks like it rides extremely low to the ground, giving it an overall sporty performance just like in Formula 1 racing.
The interior is minimal, with Tron-like lighting accents, a single central display, and wheels with pixel caps that peek through the darkness.
The Space-Hub resembles a minivan with minimal overhangs and a taillight that looks similar to Rivian’s electric vans for Amazon. The Space-Hub will also include a huge panoramic sunroof that folds down from the side, creating an almost greenhouse effect. Inside there are two benches facing each other for a comfortable transfer. There is no rear window, so drivers will likely have to rely on cameras.
No actual specs have been released, but Honda says these future EVs will be either partially or fully autonomous, depending on the configuration.
A marketing video showed a steering wheel that slides out of the dashboard when needed, suggesting that customers will be able to switch between human and robot control at will.
The advanced driver assistance features will be based on the Honda Sensing platform, which debuted with the Honda Legend in Japan in 2021.
Honda Sensing is a Level 2 system, meaning drivers must still pay attention to the road and be legally responsible for driving. Hands-free driving on expressways and streets will be available from the mid-2020s, including in more affordable models, the company says.
The Honda Zero series will be sporty, borrowing performance designs from the automaker’s F1 racing experience.
Honda also strives for optimal battery efficiency through the use of e-Axles, a system consisting of a motor, inverter and gearbox that converts electrical energy into power for driving.
Like several other automakers, Honda plans to introduce more AI-powered features to its future lineup of vehicles. These features will collect data about the driver’s preferences to provide a more personalized experience, as well as create route suggestions based on location information.
In total, Honda aims to launch 30 new electric vehicles by 2030 with 2 million units sold, plans to sell 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2040 and be carbon neutral “for all products and corporate activities” by 2050.
But there were also failures. Honda recently canceled plans to create a line of affordable electric cars with General Motors. And Cruise, GM’s autonomous unit in which Honda is also an investor, suspended all public operations after a pedestrian was injured by one of the company’s self-driving cars.
Earlier, ProIT reported that Land Rover will release the first fully electric car as early as 2024.
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