Auto Shanghai 2021 is up and running over in China, and Honda has used the event to showcase the new SUV e:prototype, which previews an upcoming all-electric model that will go on sale there in spring 2022. The Japanese carmaker says it will introduce 10 Honda-brand EV models within five years in China, and this marks the start of the long-term plan.

At first glance, the design of SUV e:prototype appears to be an evolved version of the SUV e:concept that the company revealed at the 2020 Beijing Motor Show (also known as Auto China). Unlike that show car, the new one appears to be more production-ready and looks pretty much like the latest HR-V from February, albeit with some EV-specific cues.

The front-end is certainly bold to look at, with headlamps that resemble “eyes” with their distinctive U-shaped lighting signature and stretched upper light bar, the latter being the “eyebrows.” Meanwhile, the Honda logo sits beneath an unilluminated portion of the light bar on the car’s charging port that replaces a normal grille, and is “cradled” by creases on the bumper. The shutlines also match those on the HR-V, if look at them closely.

The lower apron is where you’ll find the main intake, along with angular sections on either side that houses vertical side inlets and additional light strips. Down the sides, the prototype gets black body cladding, sleek door mirrors as well as fancy, retractable front door handles. Just like the new HR-V, the rear door handles hidden away further up and closer to the C-pillars.

More hints of the HR-V can be seen at the rear, including the taillights that are linked by a light bar, with an illuminated Honda logo in the centre. The prototype’s rear bumper also gets the same two light strips as the front, along with blue accents in the lower region (also seen on the sides and front) and a prominent tailgate spoiler. A black roof provides a two-tone, “floating roof” look.

We also get a glimpse of the prototype’s interior in a brief video, where we find a huge, portrait-format touchscreen attached to a revised version of the HR-V’s dashboard. The wide-width air vents are still present, but the HVAC controls on the centre stack are now integrated into the infotainment system.

That’s not all, as buttons are used in place of a conventional gear lever, accompanied by a drive mode selector, while the entire instrument binnacle seen on the HR-V is swapped out for a digital display. Ambient lighting along the dashboard and door cards are also seen, along with paddles behind the steering wheel to control regeneration intensity.

Details about the prototype’s powertrain weren’t provided, but the company says its new all-electric SUV will get its third-generation Honda Connect system, which will also make its way to other Honda models from the second half of this year. The AI-powered system features a host of connected services, including for smart home appliances and online shopping, while also supporting digital key via smartphone and over-the-air updates.