Honda will keep Type R into electrified era

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Honda’s lead engineer Hideki Kakinuma opens up about what the future will be of the legendary Type R.

Honda’s Type R models will continue into the electrified age, giving the Japanese car maker’s hot hatches and other driver’s cars a future despite the demise of internal combustion engines.

In recent years, Peugeot, Ford and Renault have axed their respective GTI and RS programmes due to a lack of profitability caused by stringent emissions laws.

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However, Hideki Kakinuma, lead engineer for Honda’s Type R project, told Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar: “Without Type R, there is no Honda.”

Speaking after the launch of the most recent incarnation of the iconic Honda Civic Type R, he said: “Honda strongly believes that driving pleasure is the core essence of private mobility, personal mobility.” However, Kakinuma admitted that in the face of “carbon neutrality and emissions regulations that are very stringent, it’s very difficult to think about such a sports model in these boundaries”.

He added: “But for Honda, they are only new hurdles, new challenges to provide our customers the joy of driving. Yes, we will definitely be keen to bring further Type Rs.”

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This will be welcome news for fans of the hot hatch and means Honda joins Volkswagen and Hyundai in keeping hold of its sporting models. The German car maker recently confirmed its plan to continue with GTI and R badging.

In what form the next Type R arrives remains unknown. But the possibility that there will be another Type R without battery-electric power or hybrid assistance is “not zero”, according to Kakinuma.

He said: “Carbon neutrality doesn’t have to be focused on the powertrain itself. It can have the possibility of achieving it even though you are driving a car with an ICE. So I would not reject the possibility that the next Type R can be ICE. However, given the current circumstances, this is very unlikely.”

Kakinuma added: “But the Type R itself does not depend on the powertrain. It’s a certain philosophy, a principle of the joy of driving, and that involves a lot of aspects… If this excitement can be provided with a certain powertrain that is carbon neutral or somewhat electrified – or a completely different technology – this will also be justifiably a Type R.”

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