Production Of Honda’s New Electric e:N1 SUV Starts In Thailand

It’s only Honda’s second production electric vehicle—after the Honda e—and the news is that the Japanese carmaker has started building the all-new e:N1 in Thailand. At Honda’s plant in Prachinburi province’s Rojana Industrial Park, a specialised factory line has been set up to produce the “electric HR-V,” which is fitted with local parts. That makes Honda the first Japanese carmaker to manufacture a fully electric vehicle in Thailand, but we’ll have to wait until Q1 2024 to learn of the EV’s specifics.

Bearing a slightly different name, the e:N1 is essentially the e:Ny1 that was showcased in March 2022 throughout Europe, is very similar to the e:NS1 and e:NP1 twins sold in China, and is essentially an engine-less HR-V.

Although the e:Ny1 may appear to be an HR-V, Honda claims that it is actually based on the recently created ‘e:N Architecture F,’ a front-motor driven platform featuring three key features: a low centre of gravity, a dedicated high rigidity body structure, and under-floor aerodynamics to provide a “fun and confidence-inspiring drive”.

Powered by a 68.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the lightweight three-in-one integrated power drive unit, electric motor, and gearbox in the Euro-spec e:Ny1 generates 201 hp and 310 Nm of torque. According to the WLTP cycle, Honda claims the EV’s range is 412 km, which is substantially longer than that of the Honda e. Additionally, Honda says that 45 minutes of DC rapid charging is all you need to charge from 10 to 80%.

Honda stresses that the new EV chassis provides improved torsional rigidity, and key to this is high-tensile steel, which is used across 47% of the e:Ny1’s body. “Alongside the new platform and powertrain, these combine to offer the dynamic performance, exceptional comfort and refinement drivers will expect from Honda’s latest EV,” the company adds.

One look at this EV and you can tell that Honda has applied its masterful packaging technique to the e:N1 too. According to the manufacturer, this EV delivers “remarkable interior space and comfort” because of the ingenious incorporation of the electric motor components. The HR-Vs include a sizable 15.1-inch touchscreen with what appears to be an integrated AC control area.

So is Malaysia also being considered as a base to build the e:N1 EV? Like every other OEM with a factory here, Honda Malaysia would need to commit to a specific amount and the numbers would need to support the expenditure in order to construct a product locally—given of course that Malaysia’s car market is smaller than those of Thailand and Indonesia.

At last week’s CR-V launch, Honda Malaysia CEO Hironobu Yoshimura explained that the company will focus on hybrids for now. “In Malaysia, at this moment we’re focusing on hybrids as a more practical solution first. At a certain time, we’ll come back to full electric,” he said.

OUR THOUGHTS

We will go out on a limb here and suggest that the e:N1 will arrive in Malaysia and not too long after it lands in Thailand’s showrooms. Heaven knows, after the range-challenged and space-challenged electric Honda e, the Japanese carmaker needs a viable EV crossover that offers a decent amount of range in a nicely packaged family-oriented SUV.

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