Honda last year announced plans to launch a pair of sports models powered by batteries. But unexpectedly, a new concept Prelude that made its debut this week sported a hybrid powertrain.
Launched in Japan in 1978, the Prelude has traditionally been a sporty front-wheel-drive coupe that draped sleeker bodywork over reliable mechanical components shared with more mainstream models. Production ended after the 2002 model year, bringing to a conclusion an impressive run that spanned five generations.
Despite being a concept, the Prelude on display in Tokyo looks ready for production. But while it was expected to be an EV in production, Honda’s U.S. spokesperson Andrew Quillen has since confirmed that the concept, at least, sports a gas-electric drivetrain.
It had been suggested that a Honda BEV sports car might share some underpinnings with other Honda EVs in the works. Those underpinnings likely won’t be the Ultium platform and battery technology set Honda borrowed from General Motors for the 2024 Prologue and 2024 Acura ZDX crossovers, due to recent developments between Honda and GM.
Honda had also been working on a line of affordable EVs with GM as part of an extended collaboration between the two automakers, but that plan has since been scuttled. The first model on this jointly developed platform was due in 2027.
Honda has instead pulled forward its own EV platform for medium and large-size models, the first of which is due in 2025 and likely to be a crossover. It’s also cooperating with Sony on a new Afeela-branded lineup of small electric cars.
Honda plans to have at least 30 EVs available globally by 2030. One of these will be the second sports model announced last year, thought to be a new NSX supercar.
For now, the future seems bright for this hybrid Prelude concept—but less clear for the two promised battery-electric Honda sports cars.
Update: Honda has since clarified that the Prelude concept offers a hybrid powertrain, not a battery-electric powertrain. Our initial version of this story reported that the car had an EV drivetrain.
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