Honda is ramping up its EV plans, with its Acura division preparing for a major transformation.
We’ve been hearing and seeing more about Honda’s electrification plans over the past few months, kicking off with the brand’s own Prologue crossover as well as Acura’s upcoming ZDX. In a media call this week, spokespeople for the automaker went even further into detail on how the upcoming year is going to shake out and what’s on the horizon — with Acura at the forefront of two major transitions.
The first centers around hybrids, or rather Acura’s lack of hybrids in the coming years. While Honda has fleshed out a revamped lineup with gas-electric options like the CR-V Hybrid, the new Accord and will bring a Civic Hybrid into the mix for 2024, its luxury arm is skipping a generation of hybrid offerings.
Instead, Acura will move 100% to electric vehicles as it phases out the current generation of gasoline-powered models. For the time being, though, we will still get the Integra Type S and a revamped TLX sedan for 2023, so don’t worry if you thought those were on the chopping block right away. It’s just that we’ll see a step over hybrids and PHEVs directly to battery-electric cars under the Acura brand.
The other 100% shift the luxury brand will spearhead is the transition to online sales. It will not cut its dealer franchise out of the equation (like, say, Tesla or Rivian). Folks can still go to an Acura showroom and kick the tires to see if they like a particular car, but then they will complete the process online rather than going through the usual salesman schtick. The automaker is still working out some finer details, but did mention it would start the all-online ordering/sales model in 2024 with the ZDX and ZDX Type S.
What’s going on with Honda?
In a sense, the company is taking its luxury brand in the same direction as many others — accelerating a full-EV transition for its luxury brand while the mainstream Honda marque offers more conventional options to generate sales volume (and cash, obviously). To that end, 2023 will mainly pivot toward building on all of Honda’s big reveals and launches last year, including the HR-V, CR-V and Accord. Again, we’ll see hybrids with latter two there, though a new Civic Hybrid is still a way off. Like the Acura brand, Honda may well eschew plug-in hybrids in favor of moving straight into EVs when the time is right.
The one exception to that plan is a hydrogen fuel-cell CR-V, which we will still see at some point.
Overall, the automaker’s been relatively slow to jump on the electric bandwagon compared to the competition. The fact that we’re still talking about hybrids a year or so down the line speaks to that, though Honda did face a remarkably difficult sales year in 2022. Representatives on the roundtable did acknowledge supply chain problems and historically tight inventories last year, as days’ supply on dealer lots stayed in the single digits.
Along with the new Accord’s launch this year, Honda said to expect a revamped Passport TrailSport as well as an expansion of the off-road-focused sub-brand to the Ridgeline pickup.