A performance version of the Honda e “is not the way to go”, according to project leader Kohei Hitomi, who instead will push for other forms of advancement for higher-end e models in the future.
“A performance version, like Type R, as we have on different models: I see this is not the way to go with the e," said Hitomi. "For some segments, it might be the right choice and Type R is a way to express Honda’s capability as a sporty brand. But for Honda e, we want to provide a new dimension of values for our customers.”
These will be features such as artificial intelligence (AI) and even more technology than on the normal e, which already offers high levels of specification as standard.
“There will be more interaction, AI, connectivity and other services to provide new values to the customers which are not able to be provided with conventional propulsion systems,” he said.
Honda is pitching the e as a halo car, despite its small dimensions. In positioning the e as a high-end product, Honda has previously name-checked Apple as a firm that has achieved success with products that are desirable but not the best value in the market.
The Honda’s technology – which includes natural voice recognition, a digital key, an app to control heating and more – is a key selling point for the model and leads the way for the Japanese car maker, but none is a first in the car world. However, connectivity boss Mirai Aki said: “While individually nothing is an industry first, nobody has put it all together in this package like we have.”
The Honda e, priced from £26,160, will arrive next summer. In 2021, its first full year on the market, four-figure sales are expected in the UK.