Honda readies Tesla Model 3, BYD Seal rivaling EV sedan

Honda 0 Series Saloon Concept used for representation.

Honda will introduce an all-new EV sedan for the global markets to take on the Tesla Model 3 and the BYD Seal sedan. This new sedan is part of Honda’s seven new born-EV models from its 0 series line-up that will be out by 2030. The seven 0 Series cars will prioritise weight reduction and aerodynamic performance and stand out for “the joy of driving”, the company said.

  1. Honda's future EVs will have all-wheel drive with two 'e-axles'
  2. Honda 0 Series models to have over 480km range (EPA cycle)

The Honda 0 Series line-up will be built by minimising the number of parts used in each model and adopting lightweight aluminium chassis structures. Those chassis will eventually be die-casted – a technique pioneered by the Tesla Model Y – to reduce part complexity, and therefore weight and costs.

Honda also hailed the development work enabled by its line-up of hybrids, such as the latest- gen Civic sedan, in reducing the weight of its next-generation electric powertrains. These ‘e-axles’ will comprise a motor, inverter and gearbox within a single unit, providing a claimed weight saving of around 100kg compared with Honda’s existing EVs. The company added that its EVs will have all-wheel drive, suggesting that each model will use a pair of e-axles.

Heavy components such as the power unit and battery will be mounted low and centrally, Honda said, which indicates that the cars will use a skateboard platform. This will have a reduced floor thickness, further saving weight and providing a more sporting driving position.

Each 0 Series car’s technical specifications will be anchored by a range target of more than 480km on the US’s EPA test cycle, which is more reflective of real-world conditions than Europe’s WLTP standard. The other anchor for Honda’s future EVs will be the requirement for a 5 percent return on sales – a lofty goal, given many manufacturers are currently losing money on their electric cars.

Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe previously suggested that different battery chemistries would play a role. “Instead of reducing battery size, we want to think about battery technology,” said Mibe.

In addition to technical developments, Honda will look to produce batteries in-house to cut costs. The firm said a joint-venture battery factory with Korea’s LG will start building batteries in the US from 2025, with a plant capacity of 40GWh per year. Honda will also investigate battery recycling and raw material procurement to further reduce its outgoings, which could cut the cost of a battery by 20 percent by the end of the decade.

Honda is aiming to reduce its overall production costs by 35 percent by 2030.

While Honda has ambitious plans with its seven EVs for global markets, close to home, the brand has been working on its ACE (Asian compact electric) EV project, which will spearhead models like the made-in-India Elevate-based e-SUV for domestic and export markets.

Also see:

New Honda Freed MPV revealed

Honda City, Amaze, Elevate get up to Rs 1.15 lakh off this month

Honda Amaze scores 2-star Global NCAP crash test rating

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