Honda Motor Company unveiled their roster for the Japan Mobility Show, which replaced the Tokyo Motor Show as its official name. Among the entries is the Honda Specialty Sports Concept, which the automaker describes as a fun-to-drive electric sports car that will “transcend the constraints of time, even in the era of electrification for carbon neutrality and the popularization of automated driving technology.”
The announcement was strewn among announcements for various electric scooter, bike, and hatchback concept vehicles. The electric sports car isn’t displayed, unlike the other automobiles that were announced for its Honda Dream Loop display scheduled for the show.
Catching up on EVs
While Honda was an early manufacturer of modern electrified automobiles, mainly hybrids, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, not EVs. That changed with last year’s arrival of Honda’s current CEO, Toshihiro Mibe. Since then, the company has changed direction, intending for 40% of Honda and Acura’s combined U.S. sales to consist of EVs by the end of the decade.
Mibe said last year that some of those sales could come from two all-electric sports vehicles expected by the middle of the decade. One of them is envisioned as a “specialty” vehicle, while the other as a “flagship model.” There was also a teaser image of a sports car with an NSX-like silhouette. Honda should be manufacturing its new software-defined e:Architecture EV platform by the time a potential electric NSX makes its debut in 2026.
But in the interim, Honda is seeking General Motors’ assistance, using the Ultium chassis, batteries, and electrical architecture that underpin the Chevrolet Blazer EV and Cadillac Lyriq in its initial electric vehicles. GM’s technology will be seen in Honda’s upcoming EVs, the Honda Prologue and the Acura ZDX.
A rich heritage
The Acura NSX’s development started at Honda’s Wako R&D Center in January, 1984, following Honda’s return F-1 racing. Development began in earnest the following year using an underfloor, midship-engine rear-wheel drive format. The first prototype arrived by mid-1986, wearing the world’s first all-aluminum, monocoque body. It would arrive for the 1990 model year, changing the world’s perception of Japanese automakers, a Honda had first done with the startup of its Acura luxury brand in 1986.
It would be built through 2005, and would not be replaced until the 2017 model year, when a new NSX arrived with a twin-turbocharged V-6 hybrid driveline and nine-speed dual-clutch transmission that sent 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. It would last through 2022, with the final 350 clothed in high-performance NSX Type S trim.
But soon, we could see the beginning of the next chapter, one that might appear for 2026.