Why “full-fledged electrified future” doesn’t mean it’s going to be all-electric.

An earlier version of this article hypothesized that this Prelude Concept was 100 percent electric. American Honda has since confirmed the Prelude Concept is a hybrid-electric and the article is updated to reflect that.

Earlier yesterday at the Japan Mobility Show 2023, Honda CEO Toshioro Mibe ended the show with a bang by unveiling a Prelude Concept.

It’s been 22 years since the last, 5th generation Prelude rolled off an assembly line in Japan, so this is a big deal for Honda enthusiasts as well as consumers.

Think Prelude and enthusiasts think of Honda’s iconic two-door sports coupe denoted by a long hood and RWD proportions.

1999 Honda Prelude SH.

However, this Prelude concept is a far cry from its personal coupe styling from two decades ago.

More so, Honda says,

“This model will become the prelude for our future models, which will inherit the “joy of driving” into the full-fledged electrified future and embody Honda’s unalterable sports mindset. “

Does an electrified future mean this Prelude will be fully electric or come with a gas engine with some kind of hybrid assist?

Although Honda wasn’t 100 percent clear what they meant by electric and it was reported as being 100 percent electric (see below,) American Honda has since confirmed the Prelude Concept is hybrid-electric.

This sort of aligns with what Honda has already posted as its roadmap to electrification as of last year.

In Honda’s presentation, they set a bold goal to introduce 30 new EVs by 2030 (that’s four EVs a year.)

At the end of that presentation, they hinted at two new sports cars on the way, one specialty and flagship model.

We now know that the specialty model is this new Prelude concept.

But, why Prelude?

As Honda said in their press release for the 2001 Honda Prelude,

“Historically, the Prelude has served as a technology demonstrator for promising Honda automotive technologies (many of which, such as double wishbone suspension and 4-wheel steering, have been designed to enhance vehicle handling and stability). “

Honda used the Prelude to unveil their then new Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS) which evolved into the Super Handling All-Wheel drive system now found across Honda and Acura’s lineup.

The Prelude, once again, will be Honda’s test bed for its battery technology.

Honda’s already committed R&D into solid state battery technology and is presumably what will power Honda new fleet of EVs.

Despite Honda’s commitment to EVs and solid state battery technology, while Honda says one thing, its actions as of late say that they’re easing into full-blown, 100 percent electrics.

Earlier last week, Honda announced the return of the Civic Hybrid, which should bolster their hybrid offerings in light of the Honda Insight being discontinued…again.

And, it was reported earlier this week that Honda and GM were taking a step back in their collab to produce affordable, sub-$30,000 EVs.

So, before we see Honda unleash a slew of 100-percent electrics, we’re going to see hybrid-electrics trickle into the U.S. market, like this Prelude, first.

Before the official Prelude Concept unveiling, the new Prelude was already rumored to hit the market by 2028.

However, with Honda saying this Prelude will be a literal prelude for their future EVs, I think Honda will fast track 6th gen Prelude development and will stuff this electric coupe with its latest hybrid and battery tech sooner rather than later.


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