Honda 0 Series launches with two new concepts at CES 2024 | CAR Magazine

Honda 0 Series launches with two new concepts at CES 2024

Published: 10 January 2024 Updated: 10 January 2024

► Honda 0 Series represents a relaunch of brand’s electric vehicles
► Saloon and Space-Hub concepts on show at CES
► Production version of the saloon on the way as soon as 2026

The Honda 0 Series has launched with the debut of two all-electric concept cars that are on show at CES 2024 in Las Vegas.

The Saloon and Space-Hub concepts give the first look at the new 0, or zero, Series and they have been developed using a new approach that Honda is summing up with the tagline ‘Thin, Light and Wise.’

Honda is taking a fresh approach to its electric vehicle range, saying that it is heading back to the starting point of the brand – hence heading back to zero. It will have efficiency, lightness, space, safety and driver enjoyment at its core as the brand continues towards its stated goal of being fully electric by 2040.

Two concepts on show

The Saloon is the flagship model and is a low-slung four-seater that sits on a new dedicated EV platform, while the Space-Hub is a larger and boxier people carrier that is more of a blend of MPV and SUV.

The Saloon's gullwing doors are unlikely to make it to the road.

Both feature a fluid windscreen design that sweeps up from the front of the vehicle over to the rear end in one continues line. They are not replacements for existing vehicles, but are a statement of intent as to where the brand wants to take its next generation of EVs.

However, they are more than just concepts, with Honda president Toshihiro Mibe saying that a production version of the Saloon will be on sale in less than two years, with models heading to the market in America from 2026. It will then go on sale around the world, with Europe one of the planned markets for sales.

At just under 5m long the Saloon is a large car.

It is just under five metres long and remarkably low for a car that is heading into a world dominated by SUVs. Despite the slightly futuristically retro styling, Honda says that the looks are about 90% away from the finished production version.

The doors, which are currently top-hinged gullwing affairs, are likely to change, with more conventional front-hinged ones expected for the production model. The digital front end has more chance of making it to production, although this is not something that has been decided on yet. Honda says it is exploring the option, though.

Space-Hub a concept, but watch this space…

The Space-Hub is more of a concept vehicle, with no planned production equivalent as yet. However, a smaller vehicle in a similar mould to the Space-Hub is planned and will follow not far behind the Saloon.

The Space-Hub is more of a show car than the Saloon.

Honda hasn’t gone into great technical detail on both vehicles, but it has said that the 0 Series models will feature e-axles, which feature motor, inverter and gearbox. It is also claiming that the new vehicles will be lighter and efficient, with high-density battery packs combining with the aerodynamic capabilities brought about by the sweeping styling.

There will be a smaller version of the Space-Hub, though.

The final version of the Saloon will also feature a steer-by-wire system and what is said to be a surprisingly spacious interior. The Space-Hub majors on interior space, too, with huge windows and a great degree of flexibility in the cabin.

0 Series plans

The 0 Series has been conceived so Honda can take a fresh start with its electric vehicles, and multiple models will be launched under it for the time being. It will run alongside the existing Honda models, with vehicles such as the Jazz and Civic remaining outside of it for the time being.

It will start with larger models such as the Saloon, with smaller Honda models such as a Jazz or HR-V equivalent set to be launched towards the end of the decade. There is no overarching bodystyle that will define the 0 Series, with low-slung models such as the Saloon set to sit alongside superminis, smaller people carriers and a larger SUV-style model that will sit about the Saloon. There could potentially even be a sports car, although this is not confirmed for now.

While the exterior of the Saloon is ‘90% there’ the interior of the concept car is a little further away for now. However, some features are likely to make it to production. The upright nature of the side windows allow for a little more interior space, with this spaciousness likely to be a goal for the production car.

AI and next-level autonomy

As with many vehicles on show at CES 2024, the 0 Series has AI technology integrated into its cabin as it offers an enhanced level of autonomous driving and user experience.

The cars are able to monitor their driver’s actions and decisions to tailor their experience. It will be able to learn what music you like to listen to, and learn how you drive and make suggestions as a result.  

It will also be able to provide local information on the surrounding area and provide last-mile directions when you are close to your destination.

The cabin of the Space-Hub is all about, well, space.

The AD and ADAS systems will build on the level three abilities offered by vehicles such as the Honda Legend that was launched in the US in 2021. This will be achieved by driver monitoring tech that will able to make risk predictions and therefore provide a greater degree of hands-off autonomous driving in more areas, rather than just on the motorway.

This high-level of autonomy doesn’t mean sacrificing driver enjoyment, says Honda. Autonomous driving can mean enjoying the scenery and relaxing, but if the character of the vehicle is good as well then it can be entertaining to drive.

Battery boosts

Honda also announced that it is building a new battery plant as result of a joint venture with LG Energy, which it expects to have ready by the end of the year.

It aims to address two major concerns about batteries and electric vehicles – the charging time and battery degradation. By the late 2020s, it says you should be able to charge from 15% to 80% in as little as 15 minutes, while it is also aiming to bring battery degradation down to a maximum of 10% over a 10-year period.

In addition, it is still aiming for solid-state batteries by the late 2020s.

How much will the production Honda 0 Series cost?

Inevitably it is too soon to put a precise price on the production version of the Honda 0 Series Saloon given that the finished version has yet to be revealed. However, Honda has said that it is intending to provide value to customers in a wide range, so there will still be an affordable 0 Series models.

Don’t expect the Saloon to be this version, though, as it is very much the flagship of the new 0 Series range.

The naming structure is also still to be confirmed, with Honda not being drawn on whether it will feature a combination of letters, like CR-V, or be a name, like Civic or Jazz.

We’ll bring more information when we have it.

By Tom Webster

Vans editor across CAR and our sister brand Parkers.co.uk

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