GM tie-up could usher in a Lyriq-sized Acura electric SUV [Update]

Honda has confirmed that one of the all-new electric vehicles it announced for the U.S. and Canada in April 2020 is an Acura model. These will be “large-sized” electric vehicles to launch in North America as MY2024 vehicles.

Both electric cars would feature GM’s Ultium Lithium-ion batteries and Ultium Drive electric motors, “but everything above the platform will be uniquely Honda and uniquely Acura, Dave Gardner, Executive Vice President, Honda (USA), told Automotive News last month.

In April 2020, General Motors and Honda tied up for the launch of two co-developed Honda EVs based on the former’s global EV platform and Ultium batteries. The new development indicates that, as expected, one of the co-developed EVs would be a luxury model from the Acura brand. A possibility is that Honda is targeting Tesla Model Y and Audi Q4 e-tron customers with a comparable mid-size electric SUV.

In January, Automotive News reported that GM plans to manufacture an Acura electric crossover at its facility in Spring Hill, Tennessee, from 2024. The company has confirmed that it will manufacture the Cadillac Lyriq at this factory from 2022. It will invest $2 billion in the plant to build pure electric vehicles. The Cadillac Lyriq will be the first EV to roll off the production line.

Acura electric SUV size & expected specs

The Acura electric SUV is expected to be roughly the size of the Lyriq, which is a mid-size SUV. GM markets the Lyriq as a BEV alternative to the XT5 (189.60 in. x 74.90 in. x 66.10 in.):

The average Cadillac XT5 owner travels 40 miles a day. Compare that with Lyriq’s 300 miles of expected range on a full charge based on Cadillac testing — along with an ever-expanding network of public charging stations nationwide — and it’s clear that Lyriq is poised to bring your destinations comfortably within range.

In the Acura line-up, the electric SUV co-developed with GM could serve as a BEV alternative to the Acura MDX. Given the year of SOP, a range of 300-350 miles would become achievable from a Cadillac Lyriq-sized electric SUV sitting on GM’s third-gen EV platform and packing its Ultium batteries. A dual-motor AWD setup should be standard, and the battery pack options should include units storing up to 100 kWh of energy.

Honda North America EV strategy

Honda wants EVs and FCEVs to account for 40% of annual sales in North America by 2030 and increase that number to 80% by 2035. By 2040, it aims to convert the entire line-up to EVs/FCEVs. The company plans to launch a series of new EV models built on ‘e:Architecture,’ which is “a completely new EV platform led by Honda,” beginning in the second half of the decade. North America will get these models before other regions.

The launch of the two large electric SUVs co-developed with GM as MY2024 vehicles, one under the Honda brand and the other under Acura, will mark the beginning of the Japanese automakers’ EV blitz in the USA and Canada.

New plant for Ultium Cells in Spring Hill

Ultium Cells battery cell plant Spring Hill Tennessee rendering
Ultium Cells’ new plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee could make the battery cells of the Acura SUV. Image Source: GM

Ultium Cells, a joint venture of GM and LG Energy Solution, plans to build a new battery cell manufacturing plant in the USA. Located in Spring Hill, Tennessee, it will be an approximately 2.8 million-square-foot facility constructed on land leased from GM. Construction of the new battery cell factory will begin immediately, the company announced on April 16, 2021. 

The inauguration of the new Ultium Cells factory in the USA will take place in late 2023. That would be just before the series production of the Acura electric SUV commences. Battery cells made here will be used for the vehicles manufactured at GM’s Spring Hill assembly plant, Ultium Cells said in the announcement.

Featured Image Source: Acura