Speculation

Honda SUV e:concept shows what's up next for the company's EV plans

The front of the concept is very EV in its design.

Photo courtesy of Honda

The Honda SUV e:concept debuted in China this week signaling what's ahead for a future mass-production model of the Honda brand's first electric vehicle to be introduced in China. While what's sold in China doesn't always make it to American shores, there are a few things to be learned by taking a closer look at the concept.

We know that the vehicle's powertrain is electric. How many motors? What type of battery? How much power? In a nutshell, we have no idea. However, that could be where Honda's relationship with General Motors kicks in. A recent agreement to share platforms and co-build future vehicles builds on the electric vehicle platform sharing agreement the two automakers signed in April. In the first agreement agreement, Honda agreed to work with GM to develop two new electric vehicles based on GM's global EV platform powered by Ultium batteries.

Honda SUV e:concept The sloping roofline of the concept is indicative of another Honda model.Photo courtesy of Honda

The concept's sweeping looks are more crossover than SUV. While there's plenty of doubt that the model will be a two-door vehicle when it arrives in showrooms, its overall aesthetic is new for Honda, though it has hints of the current-generation CR-V and Accord in its nose.

The roofline of the SUV and side profile look a lot like the 2020 Honda Avancier, a true crossover that got its start as a station wagon and now sits as the company's flagship in China. If indeed this model is an electric Avancier, it means that the U.S. market is unlikely to see it.

From a business perspective, this makes sense. Electric vehicles are not nearly as popular in the U.S. as they are in China and Europe, where they have been regulated into residents' lifestyles. Additionally, the U.S. electric vehicle charging infrastructure leaves much to be desired.

2020 Honda Avancier

Photo courtesy of Honda

Cars built for the Chinese market also do not have to meet the same strict safety testing standards as American vehicles so they can be made for less and sold for less. Upping to U.S. standards costs more and, when shipping and taxes are added in, the model may be priced out of sensibility for American Honda customers.

Wherever it's destined to go, the Honda will be a mass-production electric vehicle.

The company is committed to equipping the car with a number of safety technologies including omnidirectional advanced driver assistance systems, the next-generation Honda SENSING safety and driver-assistive system with improved recognition, predication and decision-making performance, as well as the next-generation Honda Connect, which features an AI assistant interface, smartphone link, and wireless updates.

Honda SUV e:concept The model features a unique black end with slim lights.Photo courtesy of Honda

Expect to see the next steps in the evolution of this concept in the coming year, even if it's just in spy photos.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Genesis GV70 will go on sale in the U.S. in 2021.

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The first Genesis GV70 debuted with little fanfare but all the looks, charm, and charisma of the GV80, but smaller. It joins the rapidly expanding Genesis lineup alongside the G70, G80, and G90 sedans and below the the GV80. Like all other Genesis models, it will be based on a rear-wheel drive platform.

"Genesis continues to build on our solid foundation with the addition of new and exciting products to our lineup," said Mark Del Rosso, President and Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Motor North America. "We recently launched our first-ever SUV, the flagship GV80, with U.S. deliveries beginning in the next thirty days. Now, with the upcoming release of the dynamic GV70 and a further diversified product portfolio, Genesis will be able to reach an even broader audience of American consumers."

2022 Genesis GV70 Sport

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Genesis says that the GV70 gets its name from the following formula: the "G" stands for Genesis and "V" stands for versatility.

Like the sedans and SUV already in the Genesis lineup, the GV70 features the company's crest grille at the front. The grille takes it shape from the Genesis logo. One this model, it's set lower than on the GV80, and below the Quad Lamp headlights to give the GV70 the look of a sporty crossover.

Muscular rear fenders and a coupe-like roofline give the GV70 an athletic appearance. There's a chrome line to the C-pillar to accentuate the sportiness and exude a sense of elegance.

Quad Lamp taillights are set into the bumper, which also features a G-Matrix pattern applied to it. The Muffler is vertical-shaped and the SUV features a body-colored diffuser.

The Genesis G70 Sport variant takes the looks of the model even further. This SUV has an exclusive front bumper, 21-inch G-Matrix pattern-applied wheels, dark chrome garnishes, and a large diameter exhaust. The Sport model's interior features exclusive colors and trim, including a sport steering wheel and carbon-fiber appointed consoles and doors.

"The audaciously designed new GV70 breaks new ground for Genesis through purity of design execution. This follows the Genesis G80 and GV80 which demonstrated the perfect balance of our design identity 'Athletic Elegance,'" said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Genesis Design."

He added "The new GV70 inherits the Genesis design DNA including signature elements, such as the Wing Face and Two Lines. Along with the G70, the athletic 70-series line-up expands our design territory. As a luxury brand based in Korea, we are excited to offer the 'Beauty of White Space', Genesis' contemporary spatial experience exclusively to our customers."

The first GV70 is expected to arrive in the United States in calendar year 2021. The GV80 starts at $48,900. Expect the GV70 to have a MSRP far below that starting price.

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Kia has begun research and development into a new round of military vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia is looking to strengthen its position to win military contracts. The company has revealed plans to develop a new standard platform for next-generation military vehicles. The project is a joint effort between Kia and the South Korean government and part of Kia's larger Plan S mid- to long-term strategy.

The development program will replace the Korean military's current 2.5- and 5.0-ton vehicles. It will also develop new bullet resistant vehicles. Each of the standard vehicles will be equipped with the latest commercial technologies, including a 7.0-liter Diesel engine and transmission system, anti-lock brakes, an anti-spin regulator, rear parking assist, around view monitor, satellite navigation, and hot wire seats.

The platform approach will allow Kia to develop additional vehicles for derivations in the future. This includes models with a range of weapons systems and those with more specialized technologies. The vehicles, which use the bare chassis of the Kia Mohave SUV, are also able to be used in a variety of fields outside the military including industrial and leisure.

Kia has developed a conceptual brief of the All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). The company is actively carrying out advanced research and development into several areas of vehicle tech including autonomous driving technology, which Kia says could help deliver supplies.

Additionally, efforts are being made to understand how hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can have a place in future vehicle endeavors. Kia's parent company, Hyundai continues to strengthen their position in regard to the future of hydrogen in the place of gasoline as a fuel for vehicles. Fuel cells can also supply electricity in combat environments.

Kia will begin manufacturing prototypes of mid-size standard vehicles this year and have them undergo evaluations by the Korean Government in 2021.

The technology and knowledge gained from this testing is expected to be employed in future road-going SUVs.

Kia has already produced a range of vehicles for the Korean military, among others. This includes 0.25-, 1.25-, 2.5- and 5-ton models. To-date, Kia has supplied nine model types and 100 derivatives, and produced a total of 140,000 military vehicles.

Kia created Korea's first multipurpose tactical vehicle, a light tactical vehicle that replaces the existing 0.25- and 1.25-ton vehicles. The model was equipped with the engine, automatic transmission, and brake system from the Mohave, and added commercial technologies and military specifications, including electronic four-wheel drive.

The automaker intends to have their vehicles ready for military deployment from 2024, following standardization and initial production tests.

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