Update: ‘Release Date’ section updated with local motorshow display.
Honda’s all-new hybrid SUV, the third-gen Honda HR-V, arrived in Europe in 2021, which will be followed by the Honda HR-V EV next year. It will debut as the Honda e:Ny1 Prototype concept later this year, before we can see the final production model.
The Honda e:Ny1 Prototype might not be an entirely new car, but it’s a crucial step in Honda’s lineup diversification. The Honda SUV e:prototype previewed a pure electric variant of the third-gen HR-V in April 2021. In October 2021, the expected electric variant of the Mk3 HR-V made its world premiere as two new sister models for China: e:NS1 and e:NP1.
Just as expected, Europe’s Honda HR-V EV, in its concept version – the e:Ny1 Prototype – is nearly identical to the simpler-looking Honda e:NP1. The version bound for Europe could gain only minor changes compared to the donor vehicle.
No matter what Honda ends up naming the production version of the e:Ny1 Prototype, the basic vehicle is the Honda e:NP1 manufactured by the Guangqi Honda (GAC Honda) JV. Image Source: Honda
The e:Ny1 Prototype is devoid of the HR-V’s radiator grille and has a provision for the charging port. There’s an illuminated Honda logo on the charging cap, but the production version should get a non-backlit H in black and white. Expect the addition of parking sensors, a tow hook cover, and LED fog lights at the front of the production version.
On the sides, the e:Ny1 Prototype features body color on the wheel arches and rocker panels instead of black as on the HR-V. This provides a clean look, although the multi-spoke black alloys and black wing mirrors offset that impression almost instantly. At the rear, unlike on the HR-V, the roof spoiler is half black, and there’s an unobstructed light band between the combination lamps. The light band looks thicker, too. Instead of an H logo in the middle of this strip, a block-lettered brand inscription is placed at a slightly lower position.
When Auto Express asked if the production version would look similar to the HR-V, Tom Gardner, Senior VP, Honda Europe, said that “it will have some of the heritage.” The upcoming small electric SUV will move Honda into a different segment that attracts families and a lifestyle proposition, Gardner added.
Underpinning the Honda e:Ny1 Prototype is the most basic platform from the e:N Architecture family – e:N Architecture F. Image Source: Honda
The Honda e:Ny1 Prototype sits on the same platform as the e:NS1 and e:NP1 – e:N Architecture F, Gardner told Auto Express. Honda developed the e:N Architecture F platform for small and medium-sized EVs with FF FWD drivetrain layout.
Honda has confirmed that it will launch the production version of the e:Ny1 Prototype in Europe in 2023. The company hasn’t revealed the final name. The Honda electric SUV will compete with models like the Hyundai Kona EV, Kia Niro EV, and the MG ZS EV.
Honda hinted at the Chinese HR-V EV for Europe in 2021
Before the e:Ny1 Prototype announcement, Christophe Decultot, President, Honda Benelux (Honda Motor Europe), had confirmed that Honda will expand the European line-up with another EV. Speaking to autovisie in October 2021, Decultot said that he’s not allowed to say how the expansion is setup but “it is certain that there will be an (a new) electric model.” The new Honda EV will have a different positioning than the Honda e, the Honda Benelux boss added.
The Honda e:NS1 looks a tad sportier than the Honda e:NP1 helped by the rear spoiler above the combination lamps. Image Source: Honda
Decultot suggested that this model could be related to the Honda SUV e:prototype and thus the e:NS1 and e:NP1 twins. The former is made by the Dongfeng Honda JV company and the latter is from the Guangqi Honda JV company. Decultot said that although Honda has developed the electric car for China, it could bring it to Europe.
On the Honda e:NS1 & Honda e:NP1 (Honda HR-V based EVs)
Dongfeng Honda has launched the HR-V electric as the Honda e:NS1 in China. Image Source: Dongfeng Honda
Design & Features
The e:NS1 looks largely the same as the SUV e:prototype. It has revised headlamp and taillamp clusters, narrower DRLs, regular front fog lights, non-backlit Honda logos, including a block-lettered one at the rear, traditional side mirrors, and regular front door handles instead of flush-fitting ones.
As for the e:NP1, the letters e, N, and P in its name stand for “energize power” and “electric power,” “New” and “Next evolution”, and “prime extreme,” respectively. The Chinese name of this model is 极湃1 (Ji Pai 1). e:NP is a new sub-brand for Guangqi Honda EVs, and the e:NP1 is the inaugural model under the same.
Guangqi Honda (GAC Honda) will produce and sell the Honda e:NP1 in the Chinese market. Image Source: Guangqi Honda
The e:NP1 features the same design and should have the same specifications as the e:NS1. A minor difference is that it doesn’t get the sporty spoiler above the tail lamps. Inside, the electric SUVs feature a Driver Monitoring Camera, a 15.2-inch HD portrait touchscreen infotainment system, a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument cluster, and Honda Connect 3.0 with 20+ connected vehicle functions. The vehicle comes with a sound system that simulates the acceleration of a combustion engine.
The Honda e:NS1 is 50 mm (2.0 in.) longer and 22 mm (0.9 in.) lower than the all-new HR-V Hybrid, but it has the same width and wheelbase. It measures 4,390 mm (172.8 in.) in length, 1,790 mm (70.5 in.) in width, and 1,560 mm (61.4 in.) in height. The wheelbase spans 2,610 mm (102.8 in.).
The Honda e:NS1 and Honda e:NP1 feature a fully digital instrument cluster and a portrait touchscreen infotainment system. Image Source: Guangqi Honda
e:NS1 customers can choose from two Lithium-ion battery packs, a 53.6 kWh unit that offers a 420 km of range (CLTC) and a 68.8 kWh unit that provides 510 km of range (CLTC). The standard-range variant has a low-output permanent magnet synchronous motor generating 134 kW and 310 Nm of torque. It achieves a top speed of 150 km/h and consumes 13.6 kWh/100 km. The long-range variant, with a high-output permanent magnet synchronous motor, produces 150 kW and 310 Nm of torque. It is just as fast but consumes slightly more energy – 13.8 kWh/100 km.
According to a report from pcauto.com.cn, the Honda e:NP1 uses a 68.8 kWh battery pack and will be able to travel more than 500 km on a full charge. While the e:NS1’s 53.6 kWh battery pack option is unavailable, the power output options are the same: 134 kW and 150 kW. As you can observe in the graph below, both e:NS1 and e:NP1 accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just under 8 seconds.
The Honda e:NS1 looks sportier than the Honda e:NP1. It offers a range of up to 510 km or 317 miles (CLTC). Image Source: Honda
Dongfeng Honda held a media drive for the e:NS1 at the Zhuhai International Circuit on January 6, 2022. Autohome test-drove the 150 kW e:NS1 and reported that the electric SUV accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.74 seconds. The Chinese publication said that motor output is more than sufficient for everyday use. The e:NS1 handled well around the corners. Overall, it is a fun product, Autohome concluded.
PC Auto also found the e:NS1 to be engaging during its spirited drive at the racetrack. The steering is precise and allows cornering with ease, this portal noted. The driving dynamics are similar to ICE Honda models. The NVH levels are good, so cruising on the highway should be comfortable, the Chinese review notes.
The Honda e:NS1’s prices start at CNY 175,000 (EUR 24,491) and go up to CNY 218,000 (EUR 30,509). Dongfeng-Honda is displaying the e:NS1 at the at the 2022 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area International Auto Show (May 28, 2022 – June 5, 2022). Pictures of the new electric SUV captured at the event are available to view on Autohome. Meanwhile we expect the Honda e:NP1’s Chinese launch within a few weeks and will update this article once details are available.
Honda China EV strategy
Honda sold 10,000 EVs in China in 2021, and that’s meager in what is one of the world’s leading EV markets. However, it’s taking sustained efforts to become a big player. In October 2021, the company announced the launch of 10 Honda EVs in the country within five years, starting in spring this year.
Katsushi Inoue, Honda’s chief officer for regional operations in China has told Nikkei that the company plans to sell 800,000 EVs in the country in 2030. The company will source battery packs for future EVs from CATL, which has guaranteed a stable supply over the next five years (by 2027). Both Dongfeng Honda and Guangqi Honda will get a new factory for EVs. The new plants will become operational in 2024 and offer a combined annual production capacity of 240,000 EVs.
Featured Image Source: Honda
With a Master’s Degree in Business Management & Administration, I’ve been working as an International Automotive News Editor since 2014, and have gained a wealth of knowledge and insight into hybrid and electric vehicles.