Honda’s First Electric Crossover, The GM-Built Prologue, Arrives In 2024

Honda’s First Electric Crossover, The GM-Built Prologue, Arrives In 2024

Honda has been a leader in improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions ever since the debut of the CVCC engine in the early-1970s and the original Insight hybrid in 2000. Despite that, Honda has never been a big fan of electric vehicles. To the degree it has gone zero emissions, most of the effort has gone toward hydrogen fuel cells. That all begins to change in early 2024 with the introduction of the Honda Prologue.

The Prologue crossover is the first two battery electric vehicles (BEV) that General Motors will build for Honda Motor Company. In addition to the Prologue, the premium Acura brand will get an electric BEV as well athough we don’t yet know the name of that model.

Earlier this year, Honda CEO, Toshihiro Mibe announced that the automaker would try to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. By 2040, Honda is aiming to sell nothing but zero emissions vehicles in North America with a mix of BEV and fuel cells. Given the slow pace of rolling out hydrogen fueling infrascture, it’s probable that most if not all Honda vehicles will be utilizing batteries rather than hydrogen by then.

Given Honda’s slow start compared to many other automakers, it is partnering with GM for its first two purpose-built BEVs. Both will utilize the Ultium electric platform that GM announced in March 2020 with lithium ion cells coming from GM’s joint-venture with LG Chem. GM is responsible for the design of the propulsion and energy storage systems that will be shared with at least 20 other vehicles arriving over the next several years.

Honda will be designing the body and interior of the Prologue and take responsibility for chassis tuning. Honda hasn’t announced where the Prologue will be produced although there have been reports that it would be coming from a GM plant in Mexico. The Acura is expected to be produced in Spring Hill, TN alongside the Cadillac Lyriq.

Following these first two BEVs for North America, Honda will start launching new models based on its own e:Architecture in the second half of the decade. Honda is already partnered with Hitachi for motor production and is doing joint development on batteries in China with CATL.

“Honda is conducting independent research on solid state batteries as the next generation batteries for EVs, that will realize, high capacity and low cost,” said executive vice president Dave Gardner. “As part of our ongoing effort in this area we will undertake the verification of production technology, using a demonstration line starting this fiscal year.”

But before Honda dives headlong into BEVs, it plans to significantly ramp up hybrid offerings. “The big shift for us is going to be taking our hybrid penetration, which is now running about 7% of our mix and trying to move that up substantially with the, with our next generation of the product,” added Gardner.

Gardner also shared that Honda is aiming for Prologue sales to fall somewhere between the Passport and Pilot which sell about 40,000 and 140,000 units annually respectively. By the end of this decade, Honda aims to be selling about 40% BEV and fuel cell vehicles, doubling that share by 2035 and phasing out internal combustion by 2040.

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