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Management 2024.02.22

Having Concluded the Announcement of the “Honda 0 Series” at CES 2024. The Response to the Concept Model Saloon as Discussed by Honda’s Vice President.

Having Concluded the Announcement of the “Honda 0 Series” at CES 2024.  The Response to the Concept Model Saloon as Discussed by Honda’s Vice President.

On January 9th (January 10th, Japan standard time), Honda announced the “Honda 0 Series”, its new global EV, at CES 2024 held in Las Vegas. Vice President Shinji Aoyama, who took to the stage, shared his passion once again on this EV series.

Shinji Aoyama

Director,
Executive Vice President and Representative Executive Officer
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The “Honda 0 Series” announced at the technology trade show attended by over 130,000 people

The world's largest technology trade show, CES 2024, featuring advanced technologies and innovative products, concluded on January 12th (local time). Over 4,000 companies exhibited, and the attendance exceeded 130,000 visitors. Amid an atmosphere that seemed to have regained the vitality from prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Honda held a press conference on the first day, January 9th, and announced to the world the new global EV, the "Honda 0 Series", along with its concept models, the Saloon and Space-Hub.

Honda views the first half of the 2020s in the EV market as the "dawn" and the latter half as the "expansion period". Currently, during the dawn, characterized by varying charging infrastructures in various countries, Honda is introducing EVs tailored to market characteristics and environmental factors specific to each major region. In anticipation of the expansion period (latter half of the 2020s) when these factors become more standardized, the “Honda 0 Series” was born out of the belief that models designed considering global needs will become necessary.

Aoyama
Aoyama

The overall impression of CES 2024 compared to past CES events is that there were fewer exhibits focusing on hardware aspects of mobility from automotive manufacturers. Instead, many companies seemed to be proposing ideas about how to implement generative AI into systems. Amid such trends, I believe that unveiling concept models like the Saloon and Space-Hub, which combine both hardware and software aspects, attracted significant attention from many people.

At Honda's press conference held on the first day of CES, over 800 actual attendees had gathered, and due to a high level of interest, many people watched from outside the booth, unable to enter, especially from the media. As expected from the high level of attention, news of the “Honda 0 Series” spread rapidly across the world, particularly in North America and Europe, after the announcement.

After the press conference ended, crowds gathered around the concept models After the press conference ended, crowds gathered around the concept models
The flagship model, Saloon, aims for mass production in 2026 The flagship model, Saloon, aims for mass production in 2026
The Saloon interior The Saloon interior
The Space-Hub, designed to serve as a hub connecting people with people and society, is currently in the research stage. The Space-Hub, designed to serve as a hub connecting people with people and society, is currently in the research stage.

When it comes to Honda's flagship sedans, one of the representative models has been the LEGEND (known as RLX under the Acura brand name). As Honda steers towards EVs, the Saloon has been developed as its new flagship, positioned as an essential global model in the era of EVs.

“0”: A series name intuitively representing Honda’s future strategy

Aoyama
Aoyama

Among the two models announced at this time, the exterior design of the Saloon in particular seems to have been received with surprise and admiration by many. A low overall height and a body featuring a one-motion form (styling characterized by a line rising smoothly from the front to the rear). Yet, it maintains a spacious interior with seating for four occupants. This can be attributed to a layout unique to battery EVs, where space is not occupied by an engine, allowing for the placement of compact motors both at the front and rear. I first saw the Saloon from the development team about two years ago, and I still remember feeling surprised and impressed at that time.

Even in the production stage, the development team is working together tirelessly to ensure that the exterior image of the concept model unveiled at this time can be preserved as much as possible.

He also speaks about the collective term for the new global EV, the “Honda 0 Series”, as follows.

Aoyama
Aoyama

When deciding on the series name for the new global EV, several candidates were considered, but “Honda 0 Series” intuitively felt like the right choice. It resonated with our mission of zero environmental impact and zero traffic fatalities, as well as our initiative to rethink the value of cars from scratch. 0 (Zero) encapsulates in a single word what Honda wants to prioritize in its future strategy. For the associates involved in development, it has helped them understand the direction they are heading in terms of what kind of EVs they will be offering to the world and what kind of society they envision. It has contributed to aligning everyone in the same direction. Furthermore, by announcing this series name to the world at CES 2024, it is likely that “Honda's enthusiasm for the EV era” was sensed by the attendees.

Honda’s vision for the EV society includes “the joy of driving” and “autonomous driving”

Of course, the visual characteristics of the car are important, but when considering the future of EVs from a user perspective, what matters is often the energy efficiency and infrastructure. At CES 2024, Honda not only discussed future EVs but also mentioned constructing the surrounding environment for them.

  • Through a joint venture established with seven OEMs in 2023, Honda aims to install 30,000 high-powered charging networks by 2030 (in North America)
  • Expansion of charging networks in regions other than North America
  • Expansion of smart charging service coverage areas (in North America) through ChargeScape, established jointly with the BMW Group and Ford Motor Company
Aoyama
Aoyama

The expansion of infrastructure is not a challenge solely assigned to mobility product manufacturers. However, this doesn't mean we intend to simply watch passively and wait. The initiatives discussed at CES 2024 are just a small part. We intend to actively engage in the development of infrastructure according to the situation in each region and country. We plan to take the lead and address challenges ourselves.

The reason Honda is working on environmental development is closely related to the "driving range" of the EVs being developed as the “Honda 0 Series”. Under the new approach of "Thin, Light, and Wise", Honda aims to efficiently extend the driving range while reducing battery quantity, while also achieving a sporty driving experience that is uncharacteristic of EVs.

Aoyama
Aoyama

The estimated driving range of 300 miles (approximately 482 kilometers) for the “Honda 0 Series” is not particularly longer compared to currently available EVs on the market. The reason is that simply extending the driving range would require the installation of a large number of batteries.

In this case, the vehicle body would become "thick" and "heavy", contradicting the development approach we have set forth, "Thin, Light, and Wise".

With an increase in the number of charging stations in the future, there will no longer be a need to drive 1000 km at once, and there will be no need to install large batteries if charging can be performed quickly. By expanding fast charging capabilities, improving reception capacity, and enhancing infrastructure, Honda believes that the EVs in the “Honda 0 Series” can become user-friendly and truly enjoyable vehicles to drive.

Furthermore, Honda released the Honda SENSING Elite equipped with the Traffic Jam Pilot (traffic jam driving function), compliant with Level 3 autonomous driving in 2021, which has been installed in the LEGEND. However, in the “Honda 0 Series” to be introduced in the latter half of the 2020s, this autonomous driving technology will be further evolved. Honda aims to expand the areas of autonomous driving on highways, allowing for tasks such as smartphone operation and, in some cases, even conducting meetings while autonomous driving is engaged. Additionally, Honda aims to achieve hands-off driving under certain conditions on regular public roads as well.

In the era of EVs, Honda believes that by offering both "seductive driving pleasure" and "safe and comfortable autonomous driving" as two options, a luxurious experience can be provided.

For models to be introduced in the latter half of the 2020s, Honda aims to shorten the rapid charging time of 15% to 80% to approximately 15 minutes. For models to be introduced in the latter half of the 2020s, Honda aims to shorten the rapid charging time of 15% to 80% to approximately 15 minutes.

The “Honda 0 Series” also represents a declaration of determination to advance Honda's electrification strategy, announced in April 2023. To achieve this, more than ever, it is necessary to raise the awareness of each individual within the company regarding the EV society.

Aoyama
Aoyama

In the immediate future, we want to create opportunities for those within the company and related companies who are not directly involved in the development, to see the Saloon and Space-Hub. As mentioned earlier, the name “Honda 0 Series” has allowed the associates involved in development to share the vision of the EV society they aim to achieve. Going forward, the first thing to do is to disseminate this common understanding throughout the entire company. We believe it is essential to foster a sense of unity that communicates, “This is the kind of EV Honda is delivering to society!” and “We are determined to see through the electrification strategy we have set forth! ”

The goal of achieving an EV and FCEV sales ratio of 100% globally by 2040 is not something that can be accomplished with half-hearted efforts, as there are still many challenges ahead. Nevertheless, Honda will continue to fulfill the mission of mobility product manufacturers in the EV society, along with the newly announced “Honda 0 Series”.


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