Honda CES EV concepts go full Lambo wedge and panorama-van
Honda has never been what we'd consider a pioneer in the electric vehicle space, but when it does go electric, it goes big. That was previously evidenced by the gorgeously retro Honda e, and it's now being further evidenced by two very different concepts revealed at CES 2024. Part of Honda's new 0 Series, the new Saloon looks more like a coupe that could be in Lamborghini's future, an aggressive wedge that rides roomy thanks to a high, stretched roofline. The Space-Hub is a little truer to its name, a big, boxy MPV with panoramic glasshouse and flexible interior. If this is what Honda's electric future looks like, we can't wait to arrive.
When Honda first teased the Saloon last month in the picture below, it chose perhaps the car's worst angle. The dim shot of the front-end made us think "anteater" immediately, and we had trouble thinking of anything else. We imagined that sharply cut face transitioning into a bloated, shapeless EV body and quietly hoped the concept would be a CES one-and-done never to be shown again.
While the face doesn't look any better from the additional angles available today, the body is an entirely different story. Honda uses the decentralized electric powertrain and flat floor to create proportions with supercar grades of flash, all while maintaining the promise of passenger sedan levels of interior space and comfort. The sharp drop of the hood allows for a wedge-like silhouette reminiscent of concepts of the late 60s and supercars of the 80s and 90s while maintaining an almost-level gently sloped roofline that maximizes headroom inside.
Meeting that roofline is a high rear fascia that adds to the aggressive profile and creates a unique rear signature with high-set, multi-depth wraparound taillights and wedge-like rear diffuser. The bulging arches around the rear wheels further enhance the sense of rear-driven supercar sportiness.
Further reminding us of Lamborghinis of the past, the Saloon's horizontal set-in headlights feel like a modern LED spin on the Countach's fixed front lights (minus the pop-ups), just as convincing as Lamborghini's own 21st century interpretation. Rather than Lambo's famous scissor doors, though, Honda goes with long, roof-hinged gullwings.
Honda keeps the two-row interior spacious with a skeletal design that includes slim front bucket seats and a hovering curved digital dashboard fronted by a narrow split-handled yoke that looks straight out of the arcade. The glass roof panels combine with the windows to add to the open, spacious feel.
Honda adds that the concept debuts the latest steer-by-wire advancements and a motion control management system. A new posture control system leverages Honda's robotics expertise in enhancing the driving experience in various conditions.
While the 0 Series Saloon does indeed look like the epitome of a one-and-done concept car developed for a technology show, Honda actually plans to introduce a production car based on the concept in North America in 2026. Hopefully it doesn't change the styling too much because this is the type of vehicle that could add some serious excitement around the brand and the EV market at large.
"We have gone back to basics and formulated the Honda 0 Series with a design for the new era," said Honda's global EVP Shinji Aoyama. "A bold and pure proportion that from the first glance is overwhelmingly different from other EVs to evoke a new perspective for people."
Honda's second 0 Series concept, the Space-Hub, exemplifies Aoyama's "bold, pure and overwhelmingly different" proportions in a way quite unique from the Saloon. It looks to push the roominess and versatility of the MPV to new heights, utilizing a high roofline, vertical rear-end and short overhangs to maximize interior space. Inside, it relies on wraparound seating within a panoramic glass-encased setting to "accommodate a variety of passengers and become a 'hub' that connects people to each other and the outside world."
No word on any specific Space-Hub production plans, but Honda does plan to sell a full 0 Series lineup that takes the fresh, new approach to design and engineering the CES concepts preview. The series will serve as a launchpad for new technologies, including Honda's next-gen automated driving platform that advances from the Honda Sensing Elite ADAS the automaker launched in 2021.
Honda also promises next-generation all-electric power and efficiency through a combination of high-density batteries and integrated e-Axle powertrain technology. It's working on bringing down fast-charging speeds (0 to 80% charge) to between 10 and 15 minutes and battery degradation to below 10% after 10 years of usage.
The Saloon and Space-Hub aren't the only examples of a new-look Honda on display at CES. The automaker has also revealed the new "H" logo that will appear on future vehicles, including production 0 Series EVs.
Honda liberates the H from the frame of the older version, shortening and widening it into a new-but-familiar look for a new era. We don't naturally see it as the two outstretched hands Honda describes, but we do think the company has done a nice job modernizing the logo without losing the global recognizability it's gained over the decades since the current H's 1981 launch.