Currently reading: Honda boss backs all-electric sports car
Smaller pure-EV stablemate for new NSX would have a motor driving each wheel and up to 350bhp

Honda's President has given his support to plans for a four-motor, pure-electric sports car that could sit just below the newly launched NSX in its line-up.

The long gestation period for the Japanese manufacturer’s hybrid supercar has allowed it to start work on several other sporting projects in parallel. These include a smaller, four-cylinder engine-based sports car and, as a higher priority, a successor to the S2000 roadster - but also a performance-focused pure EV that could showcase the next generation of Honda’s SH-AWD torque distribution system.

Read the first verdict on the Honda NSX

Honda has already developed an all-electric version of SH-AWD that uses an inboard electric motor at each corner and mixes torque vectoring with four-wheel steering. It demonstrated this complex set-up with a modified CR-Z at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, winning the Exhibition Class and posting the 11th fastest time overall.

Honda has allowed journalists to experience a tuned-down version of the racer on the eve of the Tokyo motor show - and revealed that the project has always had a production version of the car as its end goal. “We started this car back in 2012, not as a race car but as an all-electric sports car for public sales,” said a senior project source. “We are making every possible effort to make it to the market. More specifically, with the success at Pikes Peak we have verified that the testing period is completed. Now we have to think about the commercialisation of it.”

The company's president Takahiro Hachigo said, "This car was developed by young engineers in our R&D department who were trying to see what fun cars they could come up with. I personally have driven it and I would like to see it mass-produced. I hope the young engineers can, in the next phase, come up with a way of achieving that. There are some challenges in the way, but while I cannot say when we can launch a car like this, I want to see it happen as early as possible."

The CR-Z Pikes Peak racer had a 444bhp combined output and weighed 1800kg (thanks to a jumbo 50kWh battery and a heavy-duty roll cage designed to protect both it and the driver); the roadgoing mule driven ahead of the Tokyo show has around 250bhp and weighed 1600kg, but Honda engineers have indicated that it could run at 350bhp with relative ease.

The car currently has a 16kWh battery but engineers say they need to target range of 250 miles “to make customers satisfied”; that’s likely to bring extra weight that will add a few tenths to the car’s current 0-62mph time of 3.5sec.

Autocar understands that one of the chief attractions of four electric motors is that they can be relatively inexpensive, ‘stock’ components that are already available; the motors used on the CR-Z test mule are from Honda’s American flagship, the Acura RLX Hybrid.


Read our review

Car review

Honda’s super-sports icon is reborn as a ground-breaking hybrid, but is that enough to give it an edge over conventional supercars like McLaren's 570s?

Back to top

Honda is likely to gauge final reaction to the NSX before signing off on this, one of the more controversial sports car projects in its history. That’s because the targeted range of the production version and the need to use lithium-ion batteries are likely to drive up the price - not to as high a point as the NSX’s, but feasibly as high as $100,000, or £65,000.

Read more Tokyo motor show news

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Join the debate

Add a comment…
xxxx 29 October 2015


He's got the smaller 24 kwh battery version and would get just over a 100 miles this time of year if he's runs it down completely. But as he charges it at work as well as at home range is never really a problem.
xxxx 28 October 2015


...the Leaf rated at a possible 155 mile range (NEDC) with a 30 kWh battery, if Honda used the same standard of European method of measurement then to get 270 miles from 50 kWh isn't totally beyond the realms, 50 kwh would be a massive battery for a sports car though.
winniethewoo 28 October 2015

I was reading most people get

I was reading most people get EPA style mileage from their Leafs. How much range does you colleague at work get?
winniethewoo 27 October 2015

The Leaf has a 24kWh battery

The Leaf has a 24kWh battery and goes around 75 miles EPA. The Tesla P90D a 90kWh battery and goes around 270 miles EPA. Even the 50kWh jumbo battery isn't going to give the Honda 300 miles range. A "sports car" with that sort of range is likely to be over 2000kg. Still... that isn't far off the NSX.