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Honda previewed the Everus EV Concept.
Japan brands' EVs appear strikingly familiar
Hans Greimel | 2018/5/1

BEIJING -- If the first wave of Japan-brand electric vehicles for China looks familiar, it should. Toyota, Nissan and Honda are simply rolling out EV versions of existing nameplates.

Toyota Motor Corp. will launch two full electric variants of its C-HR subcompact crossover in 2020. Nissan Motor Co. will start selling an EV Sentra small sedan this year.

And also this year, Honda Motor Co. will introduce its own EV, which seems to borrow a tweaked body of the HR-V crossover and bolt it on top of an all-electric powertrain.

Plans for each of the vehicles were announced at last week's Beijing auto show. Honda previewed the Everus EV Concept. Developed with Honda's local joint venture, GAC Honda Automobile Co., the vehicle will be sold under a new Everus brand, not the Honda badge.

The tactic may help the Japanese manufacturers spread costs as they race to meet the Chinese government's new energy vehicle mandates. Sparing the expense of a new body and retooled stamping dies may help offset the pricey investments in battery technology.

The vehicles from Toyota, Nissan and Honda are part of a wider electrification blitz.

In Beijing, Toyota unveiled plug-in hybrid versions of its Corolla and Levin small cars for sale in China starting next year. Those two, along with the upcoming all-electric C-HR, are part of 10 new electrified vehicles the automaker plans to bring to China by 2020.

Nissan's battery-driven car is called the Sylphy Zero Emission. It will be the first made-in-China full EV sold by Nissan in the world's biggest auto market.

Sylphy is the China-market name for the Sentra.

Nissan plans to launch eight new EVs globally and hit annual sales of 1 million electrified vehicles in five years. Some 20 electrified models, including EVs and models using the company's e-Power extended range hybrid setup, are earmarked for China in the next five years.

For its part, Honda is planning more than 20 new electrified models before the end of 2025.

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