If you’re a regular reader of my articles here, you probably know that I’m pretty frustrated with Honda and Acura. I have an Acura MDX in my driveway, and my wife is in love with Acura vehicles. But, when it announced the latest generation of the MDX, Acura not only didn’t release an EV or PHEV version of the car, but it also gave the hybrid version the ax. It seemed like a big step backward, and created some friction in my household about what vehicles to buy in the future.
Worse, this was only the latest in a series of boneheaded moves the company had made. I wasn’t sure at the time why it was giving EVs the shaft, but I’ve since learned that Japanese manufacturers have had a bad time with China and rare earth metals (including a complete cutoff), and didn’t want their economy to depend on Chinese whims. So, we’re seeing Japanese manufacturers take a more varied approach instead of going all in on EVs.
Fortunately, a recent announcement gives us a glimpse into Honda’s (and by extension Acura’s) thinking, and they seem to possibly be getting the message that they need more EVs.
The Acura Precision
The Acura Precision EV Concept is a preview of the performance brand’s future design language as it prepares to enter the electrified era starting in 2024 with a dynamically styled all-electric SUV. Once again, during Monterey Car Week, one of the world’s top gatherings of automobile and motorsports fans, the concept model was designed by the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles to push the boundaries of Acura design and technology, showcasing Acura’s future vision of electrified vehicles with distinctive manual and full driving automation experiences.
“The Acura Precision EV Concept is a design study that will shape the direction of future Acura products in the electrified era including our first all-electric SUV in 2024,” said Emile Korkor, assistant vice president of Acura National Sales. “We are committed to delivering Precision Crafted Performance in every facet of the Acura client experience which includes a powerful and very exciting direction for the next generation of electrified Acura models.”
The Acura Precision EV Concept is a one-of-a-kind, bespoke performance hybrid yacht designed to deliver the control, agility, and stability required for ultimate speed. The design is inspired by the beauty, artistry, and harmony of form and function found in luxury Italian power boats. It has a wide, athletic stance; an expressive silhouette; and sharp character lines wearing Double Apex Blue with a matte finish.
“The Acura Precision EV Concept is a look into our future direction and continues Acura’s Precision Crafted Performance design language with a modern expression of performance” said Dave Marek, Acura executive creative director. “The Acura Precision EV Concept will be our North Star as we move into an exciting electrified future, and you will see these design cues translate over to future production models.”
The Acura Precision EV Concept’s lighting design is theatrical and foretells an electric engine with a stunning illuminated transformation of the Diamond Pentagon grille, Chicane DRL signature, and new “Particle Glitch” lights on the front and rear facias. The emotional “Particle Glitch” style is represented in the Concept’s striking 23-inch wheels by repeating the design motif on the spokes.
“The Acura Precision EV Concept continues to build on Precision Crafted Performance ‘Seamless and Dynamic’ exterior design language with a pronounced front fascia to emphasize the next-generation Seamless Illuminated Fascia for an EV,” said Andy Foster, exterior chief designer. “The ‘Particle Glitch’ lower detailing explores what EV performance could look like as Acura shifts toward its electrified future.”
The Acura Precision EV Concept’s performance-focused interior design stimulates the senses, is visceral and premium, and reveals Acura’s view of an immersive experience that engages the driver’s senses. The hyper-modern EV cockpit features two experiences – an exciting Instinctive Drive mode that heightens the driving experience and a soothing Spiritual Lounge mode during autonomous operation.
It has two drive modes:
- Instinctive Drive mode maximizes the joy of performance driving by elevating the dynamic connection with the machine with racing-style digital instrumentation and invigorating red ambient and pipe lighting.
- Spiritual Lounge mode retracts the steering wheel as it transforms the cabin into a warm, calming experience with soothing scents and restful “under water” animated projection so the driver can relax and recharge.
The cabin of this vehicle is crafted from sustainable and environmentally-responsible materials, creating unique finishes including marbled recycled plastic trim and 100% biomass leather. The aluminum used, as well as the dimensional green cast acrylic that forms the steering wheel secondary controls, were made from recycled materials. Milled FSC certified wood, harvested from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits, adds warmth and a connection to nature.
“As the definition of premium and performance evolves to include the application of sustainable materials, we are looking at new and innovative material technologies to inspire our customers while both reducing our carbon footprint and enabling the Acura brand to reshape the perception of quality,” said Gypsy Modina, principal designer: color, materials and finish.
The third Acura design concept since 2016, the Precision EV Concept, also gives a glimpse into the next generation of Acura HMI with its hyper-wide, curved transparent display that’s easy to use and has haptic touch response. “Particle Glitch” boot up graphics reflect the signature exterior detail of the Concept to create a visually cohesive experience. New technologies that have been developed to improve quality of life automatically identify and match the driver’s state with optimal driving dynamics settings.
While it’s still just a concept, it gives a ray of hope that they’re going in better directions now. Let’s just hope that the new all-electric SUV arrives in the real world at some point and that at least some of the design language seen here will make it to production. My guess is that it will go somewhat like the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, with some of the more wild elements of concept cars not making it to production while a more tame and conventional car ends up rolling off the assembly line.
Featured image provided by Acura.
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