There's a magic that happens when nostalgia and engineering come together in perfect harmony. Vehicles long thought dead can be resurrected to the joy of new and old fans alike.
The Toyota Supra and Ford Bronco, for example. But there's also another trend to consider, one that GM recently jumped electrode-first into. By relaunching the Hummer as an electric vehicle, the automaker hit two important marks: It stirred emotions and gave GM a bold new platform for the electrified future it's building.
Honda could do the same thing. Honda should do the same. But not with a bloated pickup. Instead it should turn to one of the greatest Honda vehicles ever to grace U.S. soil, the S2000.
In its heyday, the naturally aspirated S2000 was a technological marvel. Pulling 240 horsepower out of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine was a huge deal in the early 2000s. Using technology to make the engine as efficient as possible made the S2000 special. That same drive could be what makes an EV S2000 exactly what Honda and the rest of us need right now: an EV that's fun for the sake of fun. A top-down, rear-wheel-drive machine that is pumped full of torque and jubilation. The wind in your hair as you drift around the parking lot in your mostly quiet roadster built by a company known for quality.
After pulling the Clarity EV from its lineup this year, Honda has zero EVs for sale in the United States. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, the cute as a button all-electric Honda e is winning the hearts and minds of drivers with an outstanding design in a fun-to-drive package. At the same time, rumors are swirling that Honda is considering reviving the S2000 the way Toyota brought back the Supra and Ford the Bronco. It also helps that Honda showed off a 20th-anniversary prototype at the Tokyo auto show in January 2020, almost exactly a year ago. It's an alluring possibility, but it also pits the Honda against the tiny juggernaut of the MX-5 Miata. Sure the S2000 has more power, but it had more power at the beginning of the century and that didn't help to take down the Miata. What it needs this time is something that sets it apart; a battery pack and a powerful rear motor.
Honda's partnership with GM to use the Ultium battery platform should potentially make an S2000-e (don't email me about the name) a reality. The modular setup allows for pack capacities between 50.0 kWh and 200.0 kWh to match the size of a vehicle, possibly even if that vehicle is a roadster. When Honda announced the deal with GM, it said that it would still design the cars and have the battery platform engineered to "support Honda's driving character."
We don't get to enjoy the Honda e. But maybe, just maybe we can have an electric roadster that signals that Honda is ready to take on Tesla's $200,000 roadster with something the rest of us can afford. It'll give Honda the EV tech cred it might soon need in the United States and gives fans of top-down driving a truly fun car that doesn't skimp on the euphoria of driving. Just don't forget drift mode.
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