Report: Honda e:Ny1 to Drop Terrible Name

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Honda is said to be changing the naming of its electric cars after customers, particularly those in China, found its name to be exceptionally difficult to pronounce. However, they weren’t the only ones. Europeans likewise didn’t appreciate the name, nor the odd choice of punctuation and capitalization that seems to plague some all-electric vehicles.

Your author has a admittedly ludicrous theory that some manufacturers have been giving compliance EVs terrible names because they subconsciously hope that people won’t buy them. This is pure speculation, obviously, and probably incorrect. But it’s difficult to imagine the meetings where they settled on Toyota bZ4X or Honda e:Ny1 ending in anything other than some soft crying.

Officially, the e:N prefix is supposed to stand for the new electric platform that will underpin Honda’s all-electric vehicles in the coming years (watch that change) and the y1 is the model designation. But this is even worse than when companies (e.g. Polestar or Tesla) simply give each model a single number or letter to identify itself. Besides, Honda already has a complete lineup of vehicles with excellent names — making the alphanumeric stuff that more confusing.

Despite nobody really digging the moniker, Honda has told Autocar that it only plans on changing the name of the model in China (as part of a more comprehensive facelift) because that’s where they’re having the most trouble and anticipated the largest sales volumes. But there have been rumors it might see its name change elsewhere, too.

“Customers in China just can’t pronounce it,” explained the source.

From Autocar:

In China, Honda uses either the e:NS1 or e:NP1 name for its small electric SUV, depending on whether the car is made by its joint venture with Dongfeng or that with GAC, while in Europe it uses e:Ny1.
Under the new naming scheme, Honda in China has kept the P and S letters depending on which joint venture builds the car, meaning it could in Europe rename the car the Y1.
Keeping the Y element would also avoid awkward conversions with McLaren or Audi if using the P1 or S1 name.
Audi has been very protective of its naming system, last year forcing Chinese EV maker Nio to change the name of its ES6 and ES8 SUVs on the basis that they sounded too much like S6 and S8.
The new P7/S7 is the first of Honda’s new Ye Series cars, based on a newly developed EV-specific platform. Honda has said it will launch a total of 10 new EVs in China by 2027.

If this sounds confusing, it’s because Honda actually wants to distinguish its all-electric models from the rest of its fleet. The brand believes it can sell EVs in China and simultaneously move EVs upmarket. Frankly, that sounds like an insane gamble if it were being done inside North America. But China sees EV proliferation as the best way to overtake the automotive industry, giving Honda an arguably better chance there.

While other nations have historically dominated the automotive detector, China currently rules the battery market without any direct peers. By doing what it can to pivot the whole world toward all-electric vehicles, it’s putting itself in a good position to become globally relevant in terms of automotive construction. Truth be told, the sheer number of parts suppliers situated within the nation already make China an essential part of most vehicle’s supply chain. However, the Chinese government feels like the path forward is to create global EV brands that will out-compete legacy manufacturers from other countries.

Market conditions have changed quite a bit in recent years as the economy weakened. But most companies still see China as one of the few markets where small, affordable EVs have a chance of turning a profit. Unfortunately, this also meant the market was flooded with those exact types of models — making the segment very competitive with leaner margins than most automakers would have hoped for. Oversupplying has become a problem, meaning Honda is going to need every advantage it can get if it wants to stay in the fight.

Sadly, Autocar stated that the brand is already having difficulties here as loads of Chinese EV brands continue going under. The e:NS2 mid-size hatchback that was recently launched in China is reportedly being sold at a substantial loss and went to market with the naming convention the company is now considering abandoning.

Meanwhile, the relatively small e:Ny1 that also presently sells in the United Kingdom for £39,995 (roughly $50,200 USD at the current exchange rate) is being heavily discounted to ensure the company hits regional emissions targets after opting not to sell the even smaller Honda E. That presumably isn’t solely the result of it having a lackluster name and likely has more to do with the fact that that’s fairly expensive for the segment it’s trying to occupy. That's something we have seen on our market and more than occasionally.

[Image: Honda]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 20 comments
  • OA5599 OA5599 on May 07, 2024

    Now if we could only get Toyota to change BZ4X...

  • VoGhost VoGhost on May 07, 2024

    "compliance EVs" - so typically Posky. Come on, Matt, come clean about what Big Oil is paying you already.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.