When the head of the world’s largest car engine manufacturer says it’s shifting to all-electric within 16 years, we pay attention.
That was just one line item when Honda Global CEO Toshihiro Mibe took the stage for his keynote at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “Honda makes the bold transition from internal combustion engine automobiles to 100% battery electric vehicles by 2040,” said Mibe. “We adopted this significant approach to fulfill our mission as a mobility manufacturer seeking to achieve zero environmental impact.”
Then he unveiled two exciting new EV concepts about to go into production, both featuring a fun Blade Runner design aesthetic that we, as a society, have been owed since 2019. Combined with a surprise rollout of their EV collab over on Sony’s stage, Honda is having a moment.
Bucking the trend of what Mibe called “thick, heavy, but smart” EVs, the Honda 0 Saloon (that’s a sedan if it’s driving around North America) debuted with a slick video that evoked a deep sense of the futuristic. Specifically, a future you’d want to drive in. The Saloon features a super-sleek chassis that benefits greatly from thinner batteries under the floor, allowing for a lower height and faster charging—Honda is targeting an 80% charge in 10–15 minutes—and low degradation, with no more than a 10% loss of range after 10 years of use.
But just looking at it, the Saloon feels less like an EV add-on to the overall Honda catalog and more like the new flagship car-in-waiting… something that could become as ubiquitous on the road as the Accord in ten years’ time.
While it’s a concept at the moment, Honda expects to go into production soon (likely with only a few minor changes) for a 2026 delivery timeframe. All the Saloon needs now is a name that doesn’t immediately make Americans think of a wild-west watering hole.
The more family-friendly Space-hub is a space-age minivan that could easily double for a Star Trek shuttlecraft, both inside and out. Part of the Saloon’s 0-Series family, the Space-hub shares cockpit details like a retractable steering wheel for autonomous driving but layers in lounge seating for its larger interior space.
Plus, there’s a display screen mounted on the front of the car. We’re not exactly sure what that’s for, but it definitely looks cool. It sure won’t hurt your visibility at night.
And for an amusing chaser, Sony wheeled out the Afeela, their long-in-development Honda EV collab… driving it onstage using a DualSense controller from the PlayStation 5.
Izumi Kawanishi, president of Sony Honda Mobility, assured the audience that won’t be a shipped feature, which is a bit of a relief given how fussy Bluetooth can be. It still made a fun demo talking point for a car that we’ve been hearing about for at least three years now.
Even if the Afeela won’t be showing up at a dealership anytime soon, Honda’s commitment to an EV future is clear today. The impression is that the Saloon and Space-hub are just the openers for an entire 0-Series line. And to further accentuate this dramatic shift in direction, technology, and philosophy, Honda will debut a new company logo in time for the Saloon’s ship date.
Not a bad showing for their first CES in four years. All they need now is the infrastructure to go with it.