By Carlos Peña, November 7, 2022
While the Japanese car giants have been navel-gazing and dreaming about a hydrogen-powered society, the land of the Red Dragon otherwise known as China is busy making its future. China doesn’t have a great cultural affiliation with the car. Therefore the country and its people have no problem breaking conventions and choosing their own path when it comes to driving. The Chinese state and therefore its people, by proxy, are accepting the switch to electric cars at a faster rate than any other part of the developed world.
Remember, China was once the land of the riding bicycles, it was seen as a backward communist riddle, a sleeping giant permanently asleep at the wheel, or rather the handlebars. That era is well and truly over, for it is Chinese EV technology that is advancing quicker than legacy automotive competitors in Western countries.
The West and the industrialized East are no longer pointing and laughing at China. They know a great transition of political and economic power is emerging from the shadows and there is nothing they can do to stop China from becoming the most advanced state on earth. But the latter is perhaps decades away.
Meanwhile, legacy car makers such as Toyota have become the Karens of the automotive industry. Toyota especially, the world’s biggest belligerent car company believes its hydrogen technology is the way of the future and skillfully lobbies (bribes) politicians to all but secure the continuation of fossil-fueled cars while dipping its toes in EV sustainability.
Only in the past few weeks have Toyota executives finally woken up from a cold sweat and realized they have been navel-gazing while China has been advancing. Toyota is in a state of corporate panic and will likely ditch its hydrogen technology for battery-powered cars because that is where the money is.
However, Honda has its finger on the pulse, the company is humble enough to admit that hydrogen will always be a modern-day folly. The Honda e:N2 Concept is not a folly, it is an eye into the company’s EV future. It was built by a team of Chinese designers and engineers in tune with current Chinese trends.
The Honda e:N2 Concept is full of tech such as autonomous driving systems. But the eye-catching headlights are the highlights because it looks like a car that belongs in the movie Tron. The e:N2 Concept definitely bears the more angular design language of Honda’s next generation of cars. But will it ever be made?
Yes is the answer, but only as a static, wet-your-appetite, display model. The e:N2 Concept was created for the domestic Chinese audience, it’s Honda’s way of saying, hey China! look at me, my name is Honda, this is who I am.