Honda will introduce a new global EV series, Honda Zero, in 2026

Honda announced a new global range of electric vehicles called Honda Zero, pitching it as an antidote to the recent trend of ‘big, heavy’ electric vehicles on the roads today. Honda says it will introduce its first model, based on a sleek, sedan-like concept called the Saloon, starting in North America in 2026.

In addition to the sedan, Honda also introduced a boxier-like van concept, the Space-Hub. The concepts are intended to demonstrate Honda’s lighter approach to EV development, riding atop a ‘thin’ vehicle architecture with a low floor intended to accentuate aerodynamics.

‘Thin’ and ‘light’ are two of the three principles, while the third is ‘sensible’, which Honda says guides the development of the Honda Zero EV series. The automaker emphasized a ‘start from scratch’ engineering approach to the range, including a new H-mark logo that it says will appear exclusively on its next-generation EVs.

How exactly Honda wants to achieve this new weightlessness in its next generation of EVs is still unknown. Many of the electric cars hitting the U.S. market this year are large, heavy-duty SUVs and trucks, complementing a broader car-buying trend that has seen some companies stop making sedans altogether. But Honda seems to suggest there is another way, especially when it comes to smaller, sleeker and lighter vehicles.

Honda is of course also working with Sony on the design and development of its Afeela electric car, which was first introduced at CES last year. The Afeela will also hit the North American market in 2026, although there’s no word on how – if at all – it will join the Honda Zero lineup.

The Saloon has a sloping fastback shape with unique front and rear rectangular lamps that resemble a vintage Black & Decker Dustbuster. The vehicle appears to ride extremely low to the ground, for an overall sporting performance derived from Formula 1 racing. The interior is minimal, with… Tron-like light accents, one central display and wheels with pixelated covers that peer through the darkness.

The Space-Hub resembles a minivan with minimal overhangs and a taillight similar to Rivian’s electric vans for Amazon. The Space-Hub will also feature a huge panoramic moonroof that curves forward on the side to create an almost greenhouse effect. Inside, two bench seats face each other, suggesting that an autonomous shuttle service could be a possible future use. There’s no rear window, meaning drivers will likely have to rely on cameras to see out the back.

No actual specs are released, but Honda says these future EVs will be either partially or fully autonomous, depending on configuration. A marketing video showed a retractable steering wheel that emerges from the dashboard when necessary, suggesting customers can switch between human and robot driving as the mood suits.

The advanced driver assistance features will be based on Honda’s Sensing platform, which debuted with the Honda Legend in Japan in 2021. Honda Sensing is a Level 2 system, meaning drivers still have to pay attention to the road and are legally responsible for the car’s damage. operation. Hands-free driving on “highways and roads” will be available from the mid-2020s, including in more affordable models, the company says.

The Honda Zero series will be sporty and performance-oriented designs borrow from the automaker’s Formula 1 racing experience. Honda also aims to optimize battery efficiency through the use of e-Axles, a system consisting of a motor, inverter and gearbox that converts electrical energy into energy for driving.

Like several other automakers, Honda plans to introduce more AI-powered features in its future model lineup. These features collect data about drivers’ preferences to provide a more personalized experience and make route suggestions based on location information.

Until now, Honda’s global EV offering has been scarce. There’s the Honda e-city car, which is only available in Europe and Asia and will be discontinued this year, and the Prologue SUV, which is coming to North America soon. There’s also the upcoming Acura ZDX from the company’s performance brand. In total, Honda aims for 30 new electric vehicles by 2030 with 2 million units sold, 100 percent zero-emission car sales by 2040 and carbon neutrality “across all products and operations” by 2050.

But there have also been setbacks. Honda recently canceled its plans to build a line of affordable EVs with General Motors. And Cruise, GM’s autonomous unit in which Honda also invests, has halted all public operations after a pedestrian was injured by one of the company’s self-driving vehicles.

The Prologue SUV will reach customers this year, Honda’s first major attempt to sell electric vehicles in North America since the much-maligned Clarity. But while that car would look good nestled with the CRV and Pilot, these new vehicles are designed for double takes.

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