Honda teases new electric SUV, Canadian plans, as it seeks carbon neutrality

As part of the automaker’s bid for for carbon neutrality, Honda has announced plans to release the Prologue, a full battery-electric midsize SUV launching in early 2024. The company said it also plans to release more high-trim electric hybrid versions of core models in Canada as and when current models are redesigned, with no plans for plug-in hybrid variants.

Honda global CEO Toshihiro Mibe announced in late April plans for the company to achieve carbon neutrality for its products and operations by 2050. Along the way, it intends for North American auto sales to be 40 per cent electric (both battery and hydrogen fuel cell) by 2030, 80 per cent by 2035, and 100 per cent by 2040.

Honda has been selling gas-electric hybrid cars almost as long as Toyota. It built several hundred copies of the experimental EV Plus in the late 1990s, and soon after became the first automaker to put a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle in the hands of consumers. It has also long achieved the highest fleet fuel economy of any full-line automaker in North America.

But even as the climate crisis has loomed ever larger, Honda has been outpaced in recent years by many other automakers in both its recent sales of electrified vehicles and its announced goals for more of them in future. In addition, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are slowly losing the fight against the much more popular battery electric vehicle (BEV), which is what most consumers nowadays understand to be an electric car.

While noting that a good experience with hybrids makes consumers more comfortable transitioning to full BEVs, Honda Canada president and CEO Jean Marc Leclerc said there are no immediate plans to bring to Canada the hybrid version of its top-selling nameplate, the CR-V, even though it already exists south of the border. Canada’s CR-V Hybrid will await the launch of the next generation CR-V, due late next year as a 2023 model.

The next nameplates due for a full model change are expected to be the HR-V subcompact and Pilot midsize crossovers, which both underwent their last full model changes in the 2016 model year. The Accord midsize sedan (which does currently include a hybrid version) and Odyssey minivan were last redesigned for the 2018 model year, which, based on Honda’s usual six-year life cycle, would make them due for complete redesigns in 2024.

Questions still remain for the Honda Civic, which has just been redesigned for 2022 with only gas engines. Also still be seen is at what point existing models will transition directly to electric, bypassing the intermediate stage of gas-engine-with-hybrid option completely.

Like the current Honda Pilot, the 2024 Prologue (and an Acura sister vehicle due later in calendar 2024) is likely to be a midsize SUV. It will be based on Honda’s joint venture with GM that also spawned the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq, and will use the same GM-developed Ultium batteries.

The Prologue, Honda says, will be “highly competitive, with the functionality expected by Honda customers.” More details are promised over the coming months.

Meanwhile, Honda is developing its own e:Architecture that will be the foundation of additional EVs coming to Canada in the second half of this decade. At the same time, Honda hopes to transition to its own solid-state batteries that are expected to significantly lower the current cost and range barriers to EV adoption.

Despite all this, the Prologue won’t be Honda’s first series-production EV of the modern era. The Honda e, a tiny city car, went on sale in Japan and other markets last year, and Honda will debut a BEV in China next year.

Chances appear slim that those vehicles will ever make it to Canada. “The e has been designed for another part of the world,” said Leclerc. “You never say ‘never,’ but people are not prepared to compromise on what they need for their vehicles, which is trucks. We won’t eliminate passenger cars, which are strongly implanted in the Honda DNA (but) we need to give people what they want in an electrified version.”

#ISPYTHECIVIC is back!

#ISPYTHECIVIC is back and better than ever with chances to win $100 daily and a grand prize weekend on us in Toronto!

How to Enter

Enjoy the Civic long weekend with the all new 2022 Honda Civic!

  1. Follow our Facebook and Instagram to enter contest and see where we will be!
  2. Find our for the remainder of the month of July (9th-30th) around #ptbo and take a selfie to be entered to win $100 Daily!!!!
  3. Post a selfie on Facebook or Instagram with the Civic and use the hashtag #ispythecivic and tag @trentvalleyhonda on to enter! Winners will be selected daily!
  4. All those who enter will be placed in a draw to win the grand prize!  A weekend away in Toronto with the all new civic! Including 2 nights at Fairmont Royal York and Dinner on us! Grand prize draw will take place July 30th *

*Please see contest rules for full details

Grand Prize Rules:

Grand Prize:  There will be (1) “Grand Prize” available to be won, one weekend (72 Hours) with 2022 Honda Civic Touring (Model FE1F9NKN), 2 nights at Fairmont Royal (In the form of two $250 Gift cards), Dinner at the Keg ($100 Gift Card), Dinner at Oliver & Bonnicini ($250 Gift Card).  Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the following general conditions apply to the Grand Prize: (i) Grand Prize must be accepted as awarded and is not transferable, assignable or convertible to cash (except as may be specifically permitted by Sponsor in its sole and absolute discretion); (ii) no substitutions except at Sponsor’s option; (iii) Sponsor reserves the right at any time to substitute the Grand Prize or a component thereof for any reason with a prize or prize component(s) of equal or greater retail value (iv) colour and other specifics of the Grand Prize will be at the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsor and subject to availability (v) upon notification, the confirmed Grand Prize winner may, in the sole and absolute discretion of the sponsor, be required to personally take delivery of the Grand Prize from the Sponsor’s dealership and will be required to present adequate personal identification;  (vi) Grand Prize will not be released unless and until the confirmed Grand Prize winner first shows proof (in a form acceptable to the Sponsor) of having a valid driver’s license (equivalent to a full G class license in Ontario) and proof of satisfactory insurance;  (vii) confirmed Grand Prize winner is solely responsible for all expenses that are not included in the Grand Prize description above, including, but not limited to, registration and license fees, insurance, additional accessories and all other costs associated with:  (a) any upgrade or option package(s) that he/she may request (and that may be permitted by Sponsor in its sole and absolute discretion); and/or (b) obtaining a valid driver’s license, insurance and/or fuel.  FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF ANY DOUBT, THE GRAND PRIZE CONSISTS OF THE USE OF THE VEHICLE FOR 72 HOURS, UNDER THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE SPONSOR.