Update: ‘Dealers gear up for the Acura electric SUV’ and ‘Honda North America EV strategy’ sections updated.
Honda has confirmed that one of the all-new electric vehicles it announced for the U.S. and Canada in April 2020 will be an Acura model. These will be “large-sized” electric vehicles to launch in North America as MY2024 vehicles.
The new Honda electric car will arrive as the ‘Honda Prologue‘ in early 2024. The first Acura electric SUV (untitled) will debut in the 2024 calendar year, and a strong possibility is that Acura is targeting the Tesla Model Y customers with comparable features and range.
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.
Acura electric SUV size & expected specifications
General Motors and Honda have tied up for two co-developed Honda EVs based on the GM global EV platform. Both electric SUVs 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 in March 2021.
The Acura electric SUV could be bigger than the Lyriq 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 electric SUV co-developed with GM could serve as a BEV alternative to the Acura MDX in the Acura line-up. Given the year of SOP, a range of 300 miles would become achievable from a Lyriq-sized electric SUV sitting on GM’s third-gen EV platform and packing its Ultium batteries. A dual-motor AWD setup should be available, and the battery pack options should include units between 70 kWh and 100 kWh capacity.
Acura electric SUV production
In January 2021, Automotive News reported that GM plans to manufacture the Acura electric crossover at its facility in Spring Hill, Tennessee, from 2024. General Motors manufactures the Cadillac Lyriq at this now and will invest $2 billion in the plant to build pure electric vehicles. The Lyriq is the first EV to roll off the production line at this factory.
An Acura spokesperson confirmed to The Drive in April 2021 that GM will produce the co-developed Acura electric SUV. The spokesperson confirmed that Honda’s Prologue would also roll out of one of its American factories. However, the official didn’t reveal the location of production. According to the Automotive News report, GM will make the Prologue at the Ramos Arizpe Vehicle Assembly plant in Mexico.
Acura electric SUV name: Is it the Acura ADX?
While Honda Motor Company (the parent company) has revealed the name of its electric SUV as the Honda Prologue, it is yet to announce the title of the Acura electric SUV. One possibility is that it could launch as the Acura ADX. The rumor arose from a trademark application through which Honda Motor Company wants to secure rights to the name ‘ADX.’ It filed the trademark application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on December 22, 2021. Honda Motor Company could reveal the name later this year.
Dealers gear up for the Acura electric SUV
Dealers have started preparing for the Acura electric SUV launch, according to an Automotive News report published on March 14, 2022. David Ellis, Chairman, Acura National Dealer Advisory Board, and General Manager, Northeast Acura (Latham, New York), has said that deciding to launch an EV co-developed with GM is a great product move by Acura. Dealers are excited to see indigenously developed electrification technologies as well.
Ellis said that Acura dealers have received a glimpse of future EVs currently under development. He indicated that specific recommendations about the dealerships’ design and equipment, charging stations, and more will come in the future.
New plant for Ultium Cells in Spring Hill
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.
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’ beginning in 2026. North America will get these models before other regions. e: Architecture is “a completely new EV platform led by Honda,” and it combines the hardware platform and software platform.
In 2027, Honda will introduce affordable EVs co-developed with GM, with their expected prices falling under USD 30,000. These models will include compact crossovers, and they will be as competitive as their gas-powered rivals. North America will get the EVs first, the Japanese automaker has confirmed. In all, 30 Honda electric vehicle models across different segments are planned for global markets by 2030, the company announced on April 12, 2022. From commercial-use mini-EVs to flagship-class models, these will account for more than 2 million units in Honda’s annual production volume.
Honda has its reasons to develop its first high-volume electric SUVs for the U.S. on a borrowed platform. The Japanese automaker will save on development and production costs and secure itself from any risky capital investments in the new technology until the market is ready to adopt EVs on a large scale. Using an existing platform, in this case, one from GM, should allow Honda to launch models faster than developing programs from scratch. What the company saves in the cost, it can better utilize to develop the e: Architecture platform and the models it plans to base on it.
Acura banking on EVs for growth
Acura is dependent on Honda for formulating its electrification strategy, but it can hardly wait for the time when it launches its EV assault. Automotive News has reported that the company won’t transition from ICE vehicles to hybrids and then EVs. It will focus on EVs instead.
An Acura model would typically record approximately 10% of its Honda equivalent, but that sales ratio will change in the EV era. Honda expects to sell 70,000 units of the Prologue annually when it puts it on sale in 2024. Emile Korkor, Assistant Vice President of Acura National Sales at American Honda Motor Company, told Automotive News that Acura expects to sell about 30,000 units of its first EV annually.
Acura’s marketing strategy is to be performance-focused. Perhaps the only way of living up to that name in the increasingly competitive premium market is through a range of futuristic electric cars. Korkor revealed that Acura expects more than 50% of sales from EVs by 2030 and perhaps more than 60%. For the Honda brand, that target is close to 40%.
Acura electric car FAQs
When is the launch of the first Acura electric car?
The company has confirmed that the untitled Acura EV will be introduced in 2024.
What are the specs of the Acura electric SUV?
Thus far, we know that the SUV will ride on GM’s EV platform & use Ultium batteries. Expect around 300 miles of range & a dual-motor AWD.
What is the expected price of the Acura electric SUV?
We expect the well-equipped Acura EV variant to be priced well north of USD 50,000.
Featured Image Source: Acura