Honda and GM team on two new EVs: Honda design, GM platform

Honda and GM will collaborate on two new EVs, with the Honda-badged electric vehicles using GM's new Ultium batteries. The as-yet unnamed cars will be manufactured in North America at GM plants, and be based on the same global EV platform that General Motors intends to use for electrified vehicles for its own Chevrolet, Cadillac, and other brands.

GM revealed the new platform in early March, alongside the latest Ultium battery technology. Utlium consists of large-format, pouch-style cells which can be stacked either vertically or horizontally for more flexible battery shapes and sizes.

They could span anything from 50 kWh through to 200 kWh, GM suggests, with the potential for more than 400 miles on a charge at the top end. They'll slot into GM's new BEV3 platform, with an in-house design for the electric motors. That system supports front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive, as well as "performance all-wheel drive" models, GM has said, running the gamut from trucks and SUVs, through crossovers and cars, to commercial vehicles.

By example, the same BEV3 platform is expected to be used for Cadillac's upcoming luxury Lyriq car, but also the new GMC Hummer electric SUV. It'll also underpin the Cruise Origin, the autonomous city pod designed for driverless ride-hailing services.

For Honda, the promise is a collaboration between the two companies on unique vehicles, not just a simple rebadging. Honda will design both the exterior and the interior of the two new models. In addition, "the platform will be engineered to support Honda's driving character," the companies promise.

Honda will also integrate GM's OnStar safety and security services into its two EVs. That'll be combined with HondaLink. More exciting is the promise of GM's hands-free driver-assist technology being made available: better known as Super Cruise, it's so far only been offered on Cadillac vehicles, though is expected to gradually spread through more GM models.

GM and Honda are no strangers to collaboration

This isn't the first time General Motors and Honda have joined forces, of course. The two companies have worked together before on fuel cell technologies, using hydrogen for zero-emission EVs that only leave behind water.

Earlier this year, it was confirmed that Honda had collaborated with GM on the Cruise Origin, too. According to GM, Honda joined its battery module development efforts in 2018.

The news of new Honda EVs couldn't come at a better time. While Honda's recent hybrids – such as the new 2020 CR-V Hybrid – have been well-received, its all-electric models in the US haven't fared so well. In fact, Honda has axed its only pure-electric car, the Clarity EV, in the US market. Although it offers the Honda e urban EV in Europe, it has opted not to bring the hatchback – shown in prototype form above – to North America.

The Honda/GM EVs have a while to bake

GM's plans to reveal the Cadillac Lyriq had to be pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic, but we're still expecting a number of BEV3-based models to make their debut over the next couple of years. That'll have to hold us as we wait to see what the automaker is cooking up with Honda, it turns out.

Sales of the new EVs aren't expected to begin until the 2024 model year, which suggests a 2023 reveal. The new Honda models will be offered in the US and Canada, it's been confirmed. No word yet on what sort of vehicles they'll be, what sort of price point, or any other details.