There are many electric SUVs rushing the market right now, with more coming later this year. So far on the electric vehicle front, we haven’t seen much from Honda—SUV-shaped or otherwise—until now. The automaker is debuting a sleek electric SUV concept at the Beijing Motor Show, the SUV e: Concept, not long after having discontinued the only EV it sold in the U.S., the Clarity.
If it wasn’t for the badge on the show vehicle’s nose, we’d have no idea it is a Honda. The concept features a long, squared-off hood, exaggerated wheels, and extremely thin headlights and taillights, cues we haven’t arranged on this premium a shape on other vehicles from the brand. And it doesn’t seem to take much, if any, inspiration from the Honda e, the cute new retro-futuristic electric hatch for global markets.
It’s hard to imagine some of the design details on the Honda SUV e concept making their way to a production vehicle. The SUV comes with next-generation Honda Connect technology with an AI assistant interface and wireless updates. There’s also a new generation of Honda Sensing driver assistance technology. Using a wider front camera angle and new 360-degree radar, the tech provides improved peripheral vision and can assist in more complex and diverse driving scenarios. Honda will begin demonstrational testing of this new technology by the end of the year in China. Fitting, because Honda says the concept previews its vision for a future mass production EV to be introduced in China—Honda’s first EV for that market. It’s unclear if such a vehicle would make its way to the U.S. eventually, although it seems like a good possibility given our market’s hunger for SUVs and Honda’s weak EV game here.
On our shores, Honda left a shallow EV mark with the all-electric version of the Clarity, which, as we mentioned already, recently got the axe, leaving us with no pure electric Hondas in the U.S. We weren’t sad to see it go, though, considering it delivered a very uncompetitive driving range of only 89 miles. Other affordable sub-Tesla EVs could travel well over 100 miles per charge, including the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen’s E Golf.
Fortunately, Honda left the door wide open for future EVs, saying at the time, “We will be introducing new, highly appealing all-electric vehicles for the U.S. market in the years ahead.” Let’s hope one of the new offerings will be something like this concept SUV.
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