Update: ‘No Apple CarPlay & Android Auto support?’ sub-section added to ‘Next-gen Interior.’
The first Acura electric SUV, called Acura ZDX, is expected to be a game-changer for the brand which is expecting the majority of its sales to come from EVs by the end of the decade. It’s a strong possibility is that Acura is targeting the Tesla Model Y customers with comparable features and range in the ZDX. Here’s everything we know about the first Acura electric car:
Influenced by the Precision Concept
Acura has confirmed that the ZDX will “feature many of the styling themes” of its new design direction that it introduced in the form of the Precision EV Concept. However, the latter previews a different flagship EV, based on Honda e:Architecture that’s due in 2026, as per a report The Detroit Bureau published in August 2022.
While the ZDX won’t be the commercialization of the Precision EV Concept, pictures of camouflaged prototypes have indicated that it is drawing influences. It has a similarly low and curvy hood, shark nose, and bow-shaped but angular greenhouse. Despite the heavy camouflage on the test mule, the connection with the show car is visible.
Despite the camo, one can make out some key design aspects of the ZDX. It’s evident that the production model doesn’t seem to brandish wacky design cues for extra cachet, rather sticking to traditional door pillars, pull-type door handles, and ORVMs.
The interior of the Acura ZDX could be a big leap from gas-powered Acuras. It could represent a whole new level of sophistication and minimalism for the company. Expect a dashboard that’s curvy and sleek, a wide but compact fully digital instrument cluster, and a large touchscreen infotainment system. Besides 100+ cubic feet of cabin room, digital key, one-pedal driving, 5G, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a premium audio system could be the highlights of the first Acura EV.
No Apple CarPlay & Android Auto support?
In a move that customers and media have widely criticized, General Motors plans to stop offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support in its EVs. This raises concerns about the inclusion of these features in the mechanical counterparts of GM’s EVs, such as the upcoming Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX.
Honda Motor Company has issued a statement, shared by GM Authority, which certain publications are using to argue that its two GM-built Honda EVs will retain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. While the statement neither confirms nor denies the presence of these connectivity technologies, there remains optimism. An early interior image of the Honda Prologue has showcased their inclusion, and one can hope that the general marketing disclaimer of “features are subject to change” does not prove detrimental in this particular scenario!
The Acura ZDX will be a model co-developed with General Motors on the latter’s BEV3 platform that underpins the Chevrolet Blazer EV. There’s a similarly-sized Honda Prologue EV also coming off this platform in 2024. The launch of the ZDX and Prologue will mark the beginning of the Japanese automakers’ EV blitz in the USA and Canada.
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 cost, it can better utilize to develop the e: Architecture platform and the models it plans to base on it.
Performance & Range
GM’s new bespoke EV platform offers the choice of three drivetrain layouts: FWD, RWD, and AWD. Given the requirements of the segment, Acura may opt for RWD and AWD configurations. The battery pack options should range from 80 kWh to 100 kWh, with the largest available unit delivering an EPA-est. of up to around 300 miles.
The Blazer EV is available in a performance variant that has 557 hp and 648 lb.-ft. of torque. Since the brand has confirmed an Acura ZDX Type S performance offering, we’re positive that a large extent of the platform will be explored by the Japanese SUV. As it would be more expensive and heavier than the MDX Type S, the ZDX Type S would have to do better than 355 hp and 354 lb.-ft to offer the expected performance and gain customer attention. It goes without saying that the highest performance would be possible with a dual-motor AWD system.
The first Acura electric SUV should have a heat pump that reuses the heat generated by its battery pack, power electronics, and other propulsion components. The recovered energy could become useful in heating the cabin more quickly in cold weather and also warming up the battery pack to bring it up to the optimum temperature before a scheduled DC fast-charging stop.
Acura electric SUV production
An Acura spokesperson confirmed to The Drive in April 2021 that GM will manufacture the co-developed Acura electric SUV, without offering specific details.
The 2024 Acura ZDX, including the 2024 Acura ZDX Type S, will debut in 2023, likely in the second half of the year. Pre-orders will begin this year, but customer deliveries won’t start before early 2024. Availability will likely be limited, at least during the launch phase, and select states may get the all-electric SUV initially.
The first Acura EV EV will be an online-only model. However, while the ordering process will be entirely online, we expect customer deliveries to be at dealerships. Vice President of Sales, Mamadou Diallo, American Honda, has said that offering the model online will provide customers the benefit of ordering it from their place of convenience but dealers will be part of the process, The Verge reported on January 25, 2023.
Dealers gear up for the Acura electric SUV
Dealers have started preparing for the first 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.
Dedicated charging network?
Honda Motor Company’s CEO Toshihiro Mibe has revealed that the automaker is not yet convinced with the existing charging infrastructure to meet its customers’ needs, a Reuters report published on March 3, 2023, said. Speaking at the brand’s U.S. hub of operations based in Marysville, Ohio, Mibe hinted that the company could invest in a dedicated charging network in the country – comparable to Tesla’s Supercharger network – and plans to establish a standalone business unit for the development of Honda’s electric vehicle and battery business.
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 ZDX FAQs
When is the launch of the Acura ZDX?
The Acura ZDX, the first Acura electric SUV, will debut in 2023 and start reaching U.S. dealers in 2024.
What are the specs of the Acura electric SUV?
The SUV will ride on GM’s EV platform & use Ultium batteries. Expect around 300 miles of range & dual-motor AWD performance.
What is the expected price of the Acura ZDX?
We expect the well-equipped Acura ZDX Type S to be priced north of USD 60,000.
Featured Image Source: Acura