Honda has announced that Dongfeng Honda, one of its joint ventures in China, will begin sales of the new Honda e:NS1 electric vehicle (EV) model today, April 26. GAC Honda, the Japanese carmaker’s other JV in China, will take orders for the twin e:NP1 EV next month.

The e:NS1 and e:NP1 are essentially EV versions of the third-generation 2022 Honda HR-V, which has gone on sale in Thailand and Indonesia and is coming to Malaysia. The EVs first surfaced in October 2021 along with a range of electric concepts under the “e:N Series” banner.

Honda says that these e:N Series cars – the first Honda-brand EV models in China – combines Honda’s monozukuri (art of making things), which includes the pursuit of originality and passion, with the cutting-edge electrification and intelligence technologies of China. They were developed with the concept of “inspiring EVs people have never experienced before”.

The e:N Architecture F consists of an electric motor that “delivers both instantaneous output and delicate control in various driving situations” and a “large-capacity battery” (exact number unspecified) that delivers a healthy 510 km of range in the Chinese CLTC cycle. Its maker claims that the “HR-V EV” delivers a “sporty and exhilarating driving experience unique to Honda”.

There have been reports that the base e:NS1 will be powered by a 182 PS/310 Nm electric motor, which derives its power from a 53.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, providing a range of 420 km (nearly double the Honda e’s 220 km) on the Chinese cycle. The 510 km range is from the more powerful 204 PS model, which has a 68.8 kWh battery.

Tech and connectivity is very important in the Chinese market, and the e:NS1/e:NP1 will feature the latest that’s available there, including Honda Connect 3.0 developed exclusively for EVs, shown on a huge 15.1-inch Tesla-style portrait central touchscreen. New in the safety department is the Driver Monitoring Camera (DMC), which detects inattentive driving and signs of driver drowsiness.

The e:NS1/e:NP1 body is clearly the new HR-V’s, but the ICE car’s wide six-point grille has been sealed up – the EV features a luminescent ‘H’ emblem instead, and the charging port is behind it. At the back, there’s no H – instead, Honda is spelled out between the full-width LED signature and the number plate. Script logo at the back is also a thing now on Lexus SUVs.

“It is our great pleasure to start offering the all-new e:NS1 and e:NP1, the first set of Honda e:N Series, for our customers in China. Even in the EV era, creating truly unique cars is what Honda believes in. There are already many choices of EV models available to customers in China, however, our e:N Series models will be the ones to redefine the fun of EVs by offering unique value derived from the ultimate dimension of comfort and fun,” said Katsushi Inoue, Honda’s top man in China.

Along with the market introduction of the e:NS1 and e:NP1, Honda will launch its online stores in China, where the entire process of ordering can be done online through one-on-one direct communication. Honda will also “guide customers into the world of the e:N design concept of ‘perceiving the future at a glance and by touch’ and offer customers a completely new purchasing experience,” it is claimed.

It won’t be just fully online, as Honda says that it will renew existing showrooms in China. GAC Honda will start rolling out showrooms specialising in electrified vehicles and set up new showrooms at shopping malls, starting from the mega cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Dongfeng Honda has committed to install e:N brand sections at all its existing outlets.

The e:NS1/e:NP1 is part of Honda’s plan to introduce 10 e:N Series models by 2027. To support this, GAC Honda and Dongfeng Honda will each build a new dedicated EV plant with the aim to start production in 2024.

As the base car for the e:NS1/e:NP1 (HR-V) is a global and popular model, the e:NS1/e:NP1 won’t be just a China-market special – indeed, Honda has shown this EV as the e:Ny1 Prototype for Europe. What do you think of this “HR-V Electric”?