The path to electrification is almost inevitable as the world continues its push toward zero emissions or carbon neutrality. This has led to numerous automakers having to pull the plug on some of their performance cars, such as Audi with the R8 now in its final years and Subaru skipping a generation for the WRX STI. For Honda, the Type R range will thankfully continue to live in the electric vehicle (EV) age.
Speaking to Autocar, Hideki Kakinuma, lead engineer for Honda’s Type R project says that the performance model range will still exist in an age of EVs, but that presents them with unique challenges to overcome. He admits that in the face of strict emissions regulations, it’s very difficult to create a unique vehicle with these boundaries. However, he is optimistic about the future of the performance brand. Kakinuma adds:
“But for Honda, they are only new hurdles, new challenges to provide our customers the joy of driving. Yes, we will definitely be keen to bring further Type Rs.”
Currently, the Honda Civic Type R doesn’t come with any degree of electric assistance, and it seems that the future of the performance brand won’t solely be a high-performance EV. Kakinuma reveals that the chances of a Type R with an internal combustion engine (ICE) and free from any form of electrification are “not zero”. He says:
“Carbon neutrality doesn’t have to be focused on the powertrain itself. It can have the possibility of achieving it even though you are driving a car with an ICE. So I would not reject the possibility that the next Type R can be ICE. However, given the current circumstances, this is very unlikely.”
Kakinuma also revealed that the future of the high-performance Honda doesn’t solely depend on what lies under its hood. Type R, after all, is an entire philosophy and not just the drivetrain. He says:
“But the Type R itself does not depend on the powertrain. It’s a certain philosophy, a principle of the joy of driving, and that involves a lot of aspects… If this excitement can be provided with a certain powertrain that is carbon neutral or somewhat electrified – or a completely different technology – this will also be justifiably a Type R.”