If you like cars, you're likely well aware that Acura is launching a new Integra next year, complete with a gas-powered powertrain and a six-speed manual transmission. But that new four-door hot hatch may prove the swansong for Acura internal combustion. According to Automotive News, Acura plans to skip transitory hybrid powertrains and move directly into producing electric vehicles.
From a Honda perspective, this move from Acura is a surprise. Toyota has been more vocal about its EV skepticism, but Honda has arguably been even more reticent to convert to battery-electric powertrains. Honda did build the super-cool Honda e for non-American markets, but the brand's strategy stateside has been to produce hybrid versions of mass-market sellers like the CR-V and the Accord. And Acura made a big — albeit not so strong-selling — argument for hybrids with the NSX.
Honda's first American EVs — the Prologue and an eventual Acura twin, will be collaborations with General Motors and are not expected to arrive until 2024. Honda's first dedicated EV platform is not expected until the second half of the decade.
However, from a luxury brand perspective, Acura making a big electric push should be a competitive necessity. Luxury brands will be the first to go all-electric; after all, their higher margins can bear the cost. Direct Acura competitors like Volvo and Cadillac have already pledged to be all-electric by 2030. Mercedes and Audi (by 2033) may be pretty much all-electric by that point. Whatever Jaguar is by 2030 will be all-electric too. So Acura expecting 60 percent of its future sales to be electric cars may be conservative.
Comparatively, it should not be that hard to convert Acura to an EV brand, as it has a relatively small model tree. The Acura version of the GM-built Prologue, an additional electric SUV, and a sporty fastback electric sedan would more or less equal the current lineup. Acura has also hinted that a next-generation NSX is coming, and it will be an electric car.