Honda’s reinvention of the NSX, due to return to roads in 2015, will see the hybrid sportscar produced in an equally high-tech $70m US facility, the car company has confirmed. The new Ohio plant – dubbed the Performance Manufacturing Center – will be a boutique arrangement, employing around 100 specifically-skilled experts and sited at the heart of Honda’s R&D facility, as the car is finessed from the NSX Concept shown off in January to a highway-ready racer.
The US production base is a coup for Honda USA, with the last NSX – production of which ceased in 2005 – made in Japan. The new site is Honda’s former North American Logistics facility, while the powertrain will be assembled nearby, at the company’s engine plant in Anna.
“This new plant will be as unique as the vehicle we will build here,” Clement D’Souza, Honda of America’s associate chief engineer, said of the renovation plans. “In creating the plan for this plant, we looked closely at each process and determined the perfect blend of associate craftsmanship and technology to adopt a new approach to manufacturing.”
Unlike the gas-only engine of the original NSX, the 2015 model will combine a traditional, mid-mounted 3.5L V6 with a new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system. The latter, a progression of the Sport Handling SH-AWD system first launched in 2004, will include three electric motors in total: one 30 kW motor hooked up to the V6, and one 20kW motor for each rear wheel.
The two motors at the rear will be able to operate independently, sending torque to the outside wheel in a turn for improved grip; the motor on the inside wheel will switch into regeneration mode, with the power being fed back into the NSX’s lithium-ion batteries, while the drag produced will also help with grip. As for the third motor, that can be separately operated to run the front wheels, or linked up to the V6 to act as a generator and recharge the batteries as well as simultaneously drive the rear wheels.
Inside, meanwhile, will be a cocooning hub of leather and metal, if the NSX Concept is anything to go by. “We have a very clear understanding of the high customer expectations luxury buyers around the world have for a supercar,” Honda R&D Americas chief engineer Ted Klaus, who will lead the 2015 NSX project, says, “and our challenge is to exceed them.”
Mass production will kick off in 2015, though Honda is yet to confirm pricing, power, performance, or specific availability of the new NSX. However, it will be offered both in North American and globally.