Honda revealed two evocative EV concept models at CES 2024. The Honda O (zero) Series Saloon and Space-Hub represent Honda’s design principles and engineering goals for its next-generation electrified vehicles. The Saloon and Space-Hub aren’t production models that will be available for purchase anytime soon, if ever. The O Series EVs do not include the recently introduced 2024 Honda Prologue EV. The concept vehicles indicate the company’s direction for future EVs.
In addition to the O Series EV concept models, Honda also unveiled a new H-mark logo to represent the outstretched hands of the global EV series. Honda says the next-gen EV series will launch in 2026, starting with a production version of the Saloon.
Automaker concept models allow designers to show off their skills and allow customers and dealers to provide feedback that can help shape the production models. If dealers and customers aren’t enthusiastic about a new design, car makers return to their CAD studios. Because of Honda’s lukewarm participation in battery-electric vehicles, introducing dramatically-styled concepts with clearly stated design and engineering goals is brilliant.
Global CEO Toshihiro Mibe presented Honda’s EV development philosophy this way:
“We will create a completely new value from zero based on thin, light, and wise as the foundation for our new Honda 0 EV series to further advance the joy and freedom of mobility to the next level.”
Honda introduced a list of design priorities, directions, and themes for the coming O Series EVs:
- A new engineering approach called M/M (man maximum/machine minimum)
- The Art of Resonance for environment, society, and users via sustainable materials and design that evoke emotional response
- Next-gen automated driving (AD) features based on human-centric safety with
- More hands-off features
- Increased AD for highways and surface streets
- Connected technologies for “last mile” guidance and assistance
- Drawing on Honda’s F1 racing experience for aerodynamic design
- e-Axles for greater power and efficiency
- High-density batteries to maximize range and minimize size
- Battery charging goals by the late 2020s:
- Charging from 15% to 80% in 10-15 minutes
- Battery capacity degradation of less than 10% after ten years of use
The first Honda O Series in North America is the Saloon, a sedan with a swooping-looking aerodynamic style. The Saloon design will have a man maximum/machine minimum (M/M) structure with a low, wide exterior and a spacious, comfortable interior.
The Saloon driver will control the vehicle with what Honda describes as a “simple and intuitive” human-machine interface (HMI). The Saloon will have steering by wire, multiple motion control management systems, and driver posture control to enhance the “joy of driving.” We can look forward to that joy starting in 2026.
Honda didn’t mention a release date for the second O Series EV concept. The Space-Hub, which Honda is based on the “Thin, Light, and Wise” development approach. The concept model has a center flex space with wraparound seating that serves as a” ‘hub’ that connects people and the outside world.”
From the photos, the Space-Hub appears more like a stretch minivan party machine than a transport for sweaty soccer players with muddy cleats. The Space-Hub also looks like a lively candidate for van-life conversion. Honda may never have a production vehicle resembling the Space-Hub, but it draws attention and inspires reaction as a concept model.
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