Honda SUV e:prototype likely as right-hand drive model

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Honda eprototype concept suv

The Honda SUV e:prototype will go on sale in China by early 2022 and could be Honda’s next electric car for RHD markets in 2023.

A second fully electric model will join the Honda e city car in the Japanese brand’s as a right-hand drive model. Honda is yet to bring any fully electric models to fruition in Australia but the Honda e hatch and upcoming e:prototype will both be eligible given the steering wheel is on the right side.

Speaking with Automotive Daily, Honda UK boss Jean-Marc Streng said that a second Honda would be coming in RHD: “We are going to bring a new model of BEV [battery electric vehicle] in 2023 – that’s the next step, which will help us to have a wider offer.”

Streng didn’t go into any further detail about the new electric car, beyond saying that “it’s going to be an offer in the right segment, which will achieve more sales.” That strongly suggests a larger and more practical model, in all likelihood an SUV similar to the e:prototype that the brand unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2021.

Honda Australia has its own priorities to sort out first, slipping almost outside of the top 20 selling manufacturers locally according to last month’s (July 2021) Vfacts. Electric vehicles might be on-trend but account for only a small volume so would presumably be the last thing on its mind – but if there is a further shake-up to what’s offered by the Japanese maker down under, the e:prototype SUV would be in the right segment as an EV.

The e:prototype is a more conventional development of the three-door SUV e:concept seen at the Beijing show in 2020. That car had a far more rakish, three-door design, featured a sloping roofline and was generally more futuristic than the conventional styling of the design unveiled in Shanghai.

No official details on the SUV e:prototype’s powertrain have been released, but it’ll almost certainly use a larger battery than the 35.5kWh unit in the Honda e city car, which has a maximum range of just 220km. That’s on par with the Nissan Leaf (not Leaf e+) and Mazda MX-30 EV. Size-wise, it’s expected to sit somewhere between the Jazz and HR-V compact SUV – both becoming hybrid-only models.

Honda says the SUV e:prototype is close to the design of a production model that’ll go on sale in China by early 2022 – and could also be the model alluded to by Streng, which will go on sale in 2023.

Stephen Errity

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