There's no denying that crossovers are popular, raking in a lot of profits for a lot of automakers these days. Electric power on the other hand is gaining momentum, not necessarily in sales volume but in technology. To further boost the appeal of electric mobility, some manufacturers are now turning crossovers into electric vehicles (EV) as well.
Honda is the latest to join the growing number of car manufacturers building EV crossovers with the launch of the VE-1. Launched during the 2018 Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition, the debut of the VE-1 is a significant milestone for Honda as it is also their first mass produced all-electric vehicle. Before the VE-1, Honda electric vehicles were only available to the public via leasing programs.
If the shape of the VE-1 looks familiar, that's because it is a Honda HR-V that has been given a different look. The front fascia has been given a significant redesign with a more rounded bumper, relocated intakes, and a unique 'grill' that houses the plug-in crossover's charging port. The headlights appear similar to the pre-facelift CR-V while the tail lights get clear covers instead of the usual red. As for the rest of the car, it's largely carried over the gas-fed HR-V.
Inside, the cabin layout appears to be unchanged from the standard HR-V, save for a few detail. For starters, it now gets a push-button gear selector, much like the diesel CR-V. The instrument cluster meanwhile has a large speedometer at the center and is flanked by screens displaying charge and status of the electric drive system. On top of that, there's a large panoramic sunroof standard on higher-spec models.
With its electric drivetrain, significant revisions were made to the HR-V to turn it into the VE-1. The batteries are located under the floor. Powered by a 53.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, the VE-1 produces 120 kw or 163 PS while the torque figure is rated at 280 Nm. They add that the VE-1 is capable of driving up to 340 kilometers on a single full charge. Honda hasn't said if the VE-1 is all-wheel drive, hut they do say the battery location, along with the re-tuned suspension, will give it dynamic handling.
For now, there are no definite plans to introduce the Honda VE-1 in markets outside of China. What is definite however is Honda's gradual investment in electric vehicle technology as shown by the VE-1, along with the Urban EV Concept and Sports EV Concept.