Honda, like most automakers, aims to expand their electric vehicle offerings into crossovers. With this SUV E:Concept, though, they aren’t expanding yet expanding that market in the U.S., but in China. The 2020 Beijing Motor Show is the first venue in which we’re seeing a “mass-production” electric crossover from the brand.
With electric vehicles gaining prominence in the market, that leaves an important question. Could this be a next-generation Honda CR-V? Perhaps, or Honda could well introduce this beyond China as a complementary model to the existing gasoline-powered (and hybridized) CR-V.
Unfortunately, Honda did not announce any technical details this week. Instead, they’re showing a two-door SUV with coupe-like styling, and a bit of futuristic Accord looks at the front. As is fashionable in this latest design era, slim LED lights stretch across both the front and rear of the SUV E:Concept. While the two-door body style likely won’t make it to production (at least not in a U.S. spec), that’s a feature we’ll probably see on Honda’s electrified models moving forward.
Honda did hype up advanced driving technologies, by way of its Honda Sensing suite. Rather than the features we’re currently used to, though, the next-generation version will go to another level. An AI assistant interface and wireless updates are front and center. Honda will also equip the production model with “omnidirectional ADAS”.
According to the company’s statement, that means a “next-generation and advanced form of Honda Sensing, with improved recognition, prediction and decision-making performance. This improvement was made possible by widening the front camera angle and adopting 360-degree radar, which enabled the system to detect vehicle peripheral environment more accurately. This system will be able to assist safe driving in more complex and diverse driving conditions on highways and surface roads.”
When will it come here?
There’s no word at all on whether Honda will bring something like the E:Concept to North America. At this point, their official statement is that this is “a concept model indicating the direction of a future mass-production model of the Honda brand’s first electric vehicle to be introduced in China.” The company debuted it alongside a more “here and now” model: the CR-V PHEV.
Honda’s decision to debut these two specific models together may signal where it’s heading in the near future. The CR-V PHEV will go on sale in China in January 2021. From there, time will tell whether they expand this crossover beyond the Chinese market. Even if that doesn’t happen, we are expecting new EV models from the Japanese automaker thanks to its tie-up with GM. That joint development should yield its first cars by 2024.