Toyota wasn't the only Japanese automaker to showcase its first all-electric SUV at the Shanghai Auto Show that opened yesterday. Honda revealed a new concept called – wait for it – the Honda e: prototype SUV. Which conveniently describes exactly what it is: an all-electric sport utility vehicle concept.
This latest creation follows the Honda e small electric hatchback, which has had many watchers swooning since its presentation last year. The same formula, applied to an SUV, was the logical next step. And the presentation of the vehicle in China is not a coincidence. In fact, Honda has big plans for electrification in that market. The company says its concept is the first of 10 all-electric products it plans to introduce in China over the next five years.
While the model itself was put on display, Honda did not reveal anything in terms of technical specifications.
Here’s what we know: The prototype is equipped with the third generation of the Honda Connect system, which is said to rely heavily on voice recognition and will be able to operate smart appliances, make online purchases while driving, access vehicle functions via a smartphone and perform online and real-time updates. The same applies to existing navigation and multimedia systems. The system will be gradually rolled out to Honda vehicles later this year.
The Honda SUV e:prototype looks production-ready, except for a few styling elements like the mirrors, which are more typical of vehicles in the concept phase. Even so, it wouldn't be surprising to see a production version of the SUV e:prototype towards the end of this year. Here’s hoping they come up with a more inspiring name.
We'll also see if the automaker has intentions for this product for North America. For now, Honda is maintaining radio silence n that subject.