Who doesn’t know about the Honda Prologue? It’s the first-ever global electric SUV of Honda. The Japanese automaker is preparing for a big sale. By 2030, Honda is about to sell 500,000 units of EVs only in the USA and that includes the Prologue too.
Surely, Honda Prologue is a big step for Honda that didn’t happen in a day. Honda has gradually reached this point of elevation. Earlier, we wrote about the Honda e-EV, which was discontinued from the market. Honda, after multiple phases of test and run has ultimately come up with Honda Prologue.
Have you ever wondered what could be the starting point? It was definitely not Honda Prologue. Today, we will write about the EV journey of Honda, and also discuss the first-ever EV of Honda.
The First Ever Honda EV – A Dream Car of That Time
The Honda EV Plus was the first electric vehicle of Honda. It was an experimental first-ever battery electric vehicle Honda that didn’t use any lead acid batteries. Code name: ZA1.
Honda manufactured 340 EV Plus models. Honda used a 28.7 kWh, 288 V NiMH battery to run EV Plus. It was a subcompact hatchback that delivered an average range. It could cover 129–169 km on a single charge.
Unfortunately, the Honda EV Plus was soon discontinued in 1999 after Honda decided to further pursue hybrid models. It resulted in the first electric hybrid of Honda – the Honda Insight.
Junichi Araki was the LPL of the first-generation EV basic research team. He provoked a smart idea that combined the EV with solar power.
He said, “An electric vehicle (EV) running on solar power? Maybe the time is right for alternative fuel cars to be running all over town.“
Back then, Solar power was a hot topic. The Sun Racer from General Motors became first at the World Solar Challenge (WSC) race in Australia in November 1987.
Honda EV Plus was ahead of its time. It was an advanced car with the dynamics of a gasoline-based car. The car was full of comfort and didn’t allow you to complain.
Araki said, “Electric operation was the most likely candidate, in terms of alternative power, However, Honda had no previous experience with electric powerplants. Also, at the time not much research was being done with regard to alternative-fuel vehicles.”
He also added, “Therefore, we decided to take up the challenge of making an electric vehicle. We also considered participating in the WSC, simply because we knew the harsh conditions of such a race would enable us to produce our technology even more quickly.”
Honda EV Plus was the first-ever electric vehicle of Honda. Since Honda had never before manufactured any EV before, the EV Plus truly held some high hopes. And that’s the beginning of all.
Officials also discussed a few other issues on the development of Honda’s first electric vehicle. It was a plus point for Honda that electric vehicles required fewer parts than traditional vehicles. EVs can be built preferably anywhere in the world.
The Honda EV Plus was the starting point of all. The use of EV Plus ultimately resulted in less gas mileage with reduced emissions.
Honda learned the value of electric technology in terms of internal combustion engine (ICE) based vehicles. This sparked the development of EVs in Honda. The company eventually progressed with a long-term development plan for EVs, which led to Honda’s promising goal to convert all traditional vehicles to FCEVs and EVs by 2050.
Honda EV Plus At A Glance:
- Type: Subcompact Car.
- Style: 3-Door Hatchback.
- Motor: Brushless DC (Electric)
- Battery: 28.7 kWh, 288 V NiMH (nickel–metal hydride)
- Range: 129–169 Km
- Wheelbase: 99.6 inches
- Curb Weight: 1,630 Kg
- Length 159.3 in
- Width 68.9 in
- Height 64.2 in
However, it’s upsetting that we have to bid farewell to this classic modern EV Plus. Looking back at the time, the successor Honda EVs and Hybrids hold tremendous opportunities and promises for us.
Over the years. Honda has progressively worked on the development of eccentric modern environment-friendly vehicles. That leads us to the Honda Prologue. Let’s take a look at Honda’s journey of electrification below.
Honda’s Journey to Electrification
The Honda EV Plus developed the seeds of electric models in Honda. Over the past few years, Honda has been working with different initiatives to “solidify existing businesses” and to “prepare for new growth”.
We suppose the solidifying part goes with nonhybrid and hybrid models of Honda such as the Honda Accords, Honda CRV, Honda Civic, Honda Pilot, Honda Passport, and others.
Also, the part where Honda intends to grow reflects on the EV models of this Japanese automaker. These initiatives and plans were delivered to show progress and positive results using new technologies, products, and businesses.
Honda has significantly improved their business structure and made some constant developments. The company intends to reduce its conventional Honda models by one-third by 2025.
Work is already in progress with the reduction of the overall trims and model options of Honda. If you take a look at the numbers, global models have been reduced to less than one-half that of 2018.
Honda has been progressively working on cost too. The company is on track to reduce about 10% of its initial cost target, than what has been in 2018. That’s how Honda has been working on solidifying its existing business while focusing on the new ones. It’s a smart approach to invest in existing resources, and also prepare for new growth.
Honda Plans for Global Electrification
Honda has annual sales of an estimated 30 million units of all products. That includes motorcycles, automobiles, power products, outboard motors, and aircraft. They are one of the world’s largest mobility and power unit providers, there’s no doubt about this.
Everything we discussed above is part of Honda’s Carbon Neutrality plan for all products, indifferent of 4-wheelers, 2-wheelers, or even aircraft. The company aims for a total elimination of carbon by 2050. Following this, Honda is undertaking multidimensional projects on hand.
According to Honda, it’s not just replacing conventional engines with batteries, but more than that. Honda is also planning to make the best use of swappable batteries and FCEVs, as an integral part of the electrification project. We are to receive a global solution for all Honda products based on how consumers from different countries use it.
Additionally, Honda is to operate as a connected platform for all with better convenience and more efficiency for the global society.
Obstacles & Challenges to Electrification
The primary challenge for Honda is to ensure a global supply and procurement of batteries. Honda has settled with Li-Ion batteries. To consider a large scale, that won’t be enough.
Here are a few basic approaches Honda is undergoing to ensure proper flow of batteries.
- Honda is reaching out to create corporate partnerships. To ensure a constant flow of Li-Ion batteries in every region, Honda is reaching out to other whales in the industry to solidify external partnerships.
- However, Honda has a different plan for North America. There, Honda plans to receive Ultium batteries from General Motors. This is where also comes the Joint Venture of Honda and LG Energy Solution to build batteries in its factory.
Although a joint venture on creating affordable EVs with GM is no more in action. We believe this joint venture with LG Energy Solution to go a far road ahead.
- In China, Honda will collaborate with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) to daily supply batteries for its EVs. The same goes for Japan also. Honda to work with Envision AESC to daily procure batteries for its mini-EVs.
This goes for batteries. Thinking about Honda’s EV production, a few dedicated plants to develop EVs are in the queue. In China, Honda is to build a separate EV plant in Guangzhou and Wuhan as well.
It goes as far as North America too. Honda is also planning an EV production line in this part of America.
The company believes in the results of independent and potential R&D. Although most of Honda’s competitors like Toyota, and Hyundai have already progressed with electric vehicles.
Things have been slow for Honda but not entirely at a halt. The company went deep into Research and Development for its next-generation batteries.
Honda has all-solid-state batteries under development and soon develop a demonstration line. Right now, Honda has invested 43 billion yen into this industry. The company plans to go operational fully by the Spring of 2024.
The next-generation battery-based Honda models are soon to be introduced in the market. But you have to wait another 2 years for that. It’s basically the second half of the 2020s.
EVs in the LineUp
We all know of the Honda Prologue, Honda e EV, and now about Honda EV Plus too. But it’s an evident fact that Honda won’t stop with the Prologue. This is only the beginning.
In years to come, Honda will target and promote region-based sales. This means that, will promote its vehicles based on the buying and driving behavior of people of a specific country or region. It follows as,
- In North America, Honda is about to introduce two mid to large EVs. The models are currently in production and scheduled for 2024. Initially, they were a part of Honda’s joint venture with GM. Now that, Honda and GM are no longer working together, we believe the EVs to come back differently for the North Americans.
Models involve the all-new Prologue SUV, Acura Brand, and also an EV SUV model.
- In China, Honda is to launch about 10 new EV models by 2027. No specific details were revealed at this time. But we believe it’s soon to be out.
- Although the commercial mini-EV at a range of 1 million yen in Japan was a production of the Honda-GM Joint Venture, Honda is looking for separate solutions now that they are not working together. A few mini EVs and EV-based SUVs for individual use are also on the schedule.
- Apart from EVs, Honda also plans to deliver the joy of driving. Honda will also globally introduce two Sports Models soon. One of them is a specialty model, while the other one would be a flagship model. The sports models are to promote a sporty mindset and the unique characteristics of a Sports model.
- By 2026, Honda will also utilize the first-ever Honda e: Architecture. It’s an EV Platform that equivalently combines the hardware platform and software platform.
Honda’s Budget & Investment:
Today, our article is all about Honda’s plan and progress with electrification. Here’s a brief discussion of Honda’s budget and investment over the next 10 years, including proper utilization of external funds. Keep reading,
- Honda has a budget of approximately 8 trillion yen dedicated solely to covering R&D. It highlights the total cost of R&D. However, out of the entire cost, Honda decided to invest about 5 trillion yen only in the expertise of electrification and software.
It’s divided into two parts, among which 1.5 trillion yen is for investment, while the rest of 3.5 trillion yen is for R&D expense coverage.
- Honda is to invest about 1 trillion yen over the next 10 years to supply for company growth in the expertise of technology and resource allocation.
- The company is also about to offer some high-value opportunities for startups who show promise in the field of technology with a solid business model. The company intends to spend about 10 billion yen per year on them. This contribution will also, in return help Honda to expand further.
Here’s a journey of Honda’s electrification to automobiles and power accessories. The launch of Honda Prologue is covered by significant roadmaps of test Honda models, and proper R&D coverage.
Honda reached where they are today, and soon to come with better plans for clear-cut emission-free models. We are highly hopeful about it.
So, what do you have in your mind? Let us know in the comments. We will soon be back with another article on Honda. Till then, stay with us.
You can also share our articles with others. It will also help us to grow.