The Clarkson Review: 2017 Honda NSX

Honda may be about to reveal a pure-electric NSX

New Sportscar eXperimental... Electric?

Following its announcement of a dramatic-looking series of electric vehicles (EVs) called “0 Series” at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Honda has now hinted that it might be about to revive its NSX supercar as a zero-emissions model.

Using the same dramatic styling cues as the 0 Series Saloon — slated to go on sale in 2026 — the potential NSX EV would also bear the hallmarks of its two predecessors, such as a driving position close to the front of the car.

Honda’s CEO, Toshihiro Mibe, told Autocar that the company was already “researching sports cars in the EV era”, adding that “at the research and development centre, we have a sports car”.

As recently as October last year, the company also revealed a concept vehicle with the name Prelude, another of its sporting badges, while there have long been rumours of a replacement for the S2000 roadster, too.

NSX: the halo effect

The possibility of an electric NSX (which stands for New Sportscar eXperimental) is more likely, though, because Mibe said the new sports car would serve as the grandest “halo” model for the 0 Series line-up.

And the second-generation car, built from 2016 until 2022, was a high-performance hybrid, marking an electrified transition away from the original NSX that was powered by a petrol V6.

As with the 0 Series Saloon, any electric sports car from Honda will follow the “thin, light and wise” philosophy.

That means they are built on a dedicated EV platform with a low-in-height battery pack, which brings various significant packaging and aerodynamic benefits to any zero-emission car.

It will also be constructed of lightweight materials, while the EV sports car will come with Honda’s most advanced driver-assist technologies that will be available when it’s ready for market.

Honda is also planning to build its 0 Series EVs with an “e-axle drive” set-up that features the motors, inverters and any form of transmission in one compact unit, which should further help with passenger space onboard.

This added interior practicality would be especially useful in two-door electric supercar, such as a revived NSX.

‘Completely different taste’

Mibe said that any Honda sportscar EV sold under the 0 Series banner would have a “completely different taste” to its existing performance models, such as the Civic Type R, Integra Type R, the aforementioned S2000 or, indeed, either of the previous generations of NSX.

Although Honda’s CEO refused to give any further details on the technical specification or likely market positioning of the EV in development already, he did say the company is “doing a good analysis” of the present electric sportscar market.

He declined to name any competitor vehicles that were being directly benchmarket, however.

Mibe’s announcement follows on from the revelation by the chairman of one of Honda’s main Japanese rivals, Toyota, is heavily involved in the creation of a Gazoo Racing sports EV.

Mibe has already said he believes electric and hybrid vehicles can be “fun as well as economical”, and is said to be a key driving force in getting a 0 Series sports EV off the ground.

Could Acura light the way?

But there is no word yet as to whether it would get the official green light, with Mibe adding: “We have not decided on mass production or timing, but personally I would like to make it happen.”

There were also hints Honda was working on something like this at Monterey Car Week last summer.

At the event in California in August, Honda’s US subsidiary Acura teased something called the Electric Vision Design Study — which could easily be imagined as a pure-electric NSX.

It is expected, though, that the 0 Series sports car in development which Mibe is referring to would not have the sleek light signatures of the Acura study, but would instead wear the large, hoop-shaped front illumination of the 0 Series Saloon, as well as that car’s narrow, rectangular headlights.

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