By Emma Nitzsche
Honda introduced its new electric SUV called the Prologue today, marking its commitment to transition away from gasoline cars. The new name is meant to symbolize the beginning of the company’s new electrified era.
The Japanese automaker will partner with General Motors and use its battery system in the new vehicle. GM announced it would build one Honda SUV and one Acura SUV, using its branded electric vehicle architecture and battery system. While GM manufactures the battery, Honda will oversee designing the vehicle’s body, interior, and driving characteristics. Honda gave no other details about the vehicle’s price, technical specifications, or appearance.
The two auto manufacturers have worked together before, so it comes as no surprise that the Prologue will be based on GM’s Ultium electric car platform. Although GM will contribute and build Honda’s first two electric vehicles for North America, Honda will manufacture its cars independently in 2024.
Honda said sales projections for the Prologue models are between 40,000 and 150,000 per year. The company expects U.S. sales of the new vehicle to reach the levels of the two most popular SUVs, the Passport and Pilot.
“Our zero-emission focus has begun,” Dave Gardner, Executive Vice President of American Honda, said on a conference call.
The automaker said they are committed to going all-electric in the U.S. by 2040. Honda plans to have 40% of major-market sales either using batteries or hydrogen fuel cells by 2030.
Honda’s move to electric vehicles represents a larger shift for car manufactures from gas-powered cars. Electric vehicles accounted for less than 2% of new U.S. vehicle sales last year, but automakers expect a significant demand for electric vehicles in the next ten years. The consulting firm LMC Automotive expects nearly 359,000 to be sold this year, passing one million in 2023 and surpassing 4 million in 2030.
Other automakers like GM, Volvo, and Jugar have announced plans to phase out gas-powered vehicles. In the past month, Tesla updated one of its electric cars—advertising a 0-60 mph acceleration in under two seconds.
The Prologue will not be the first time Honda has sold EVs in the U.S. The automaker had previously sold a version of its Clarity sedan but never intended to sell the model in high quantities.
In addition to its electric car partnership, Honda invested in GM’s Cruise autonomous-car subsidiary. GM plans to develop a self-driving shuttle that will transport people from various destinations on demand. The ride-sharing service has plans to roll out in both the U.S. and Japan.