Does This Honda Synergy Off-Road Concept Point To Future UTVs?

The Honda Synergy off-road concept is an EV off-road racer built for one.

This Honda Synergy off-road concept design is the work of Darby Jean Barber, who is now part of General Motor’s Design. Before then, she had an internship at Honda AD Advanced Studio Exterior Design – where the Honda Synergy concept was created. At the time, the design backstory was to reignite the passion for Honda off-road racing in the future.

I see this Honda Synergy Off-Road Concept as an idea that may shine a light on future EV off-road vehicle design, even UTVs – built by Honda.

Looking at the concept, it looks somewhat plausible for an EV. EV motors are very compact and could reside in the wheel itself, leaving the center section to hold the pilot and batteries, among other things. The whole thing boils down to power. Honda is excellent at packaging. They now need a strong power source to make these compact, swappable batteries a reality.

Recently, General Motors and Honda entered a partnership regarding battery production. In this agreement, both companies would jointly develop GM’s “Ultium” battery platform. Sure, that is a platform, but why not make smaller capsules that held Ultium batteries for Honda products?

(Image: Honda)

Here are a few thoughts:

Honda modular battery tech: In 2018, Honda unveiled a swappable battery pack at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The modular, portable battery packs could power a variety of personal transport, including this electrified Honda Pioneer 500 EV concept. They could be used for emergency power at a location as well.

(Image: Honda)

Modular, (possibly) nonproprietary and easy to transport

Honda demonstrated various potential applications for the swappable battery system at the 2018 CES. One of the interesting parts of this idea was the roll-along transport container. I would imagine that these batteries would be pretty heavy for most.

Honda EV scooter concept (Image: Honda)

Now, if they combined the modern Ultium batteries, (which are expected to be lighter than lithium ion) with this packaging, this could be ideal for EV off-road enthusiasts. On top of this design, Honda suggested a standardized interface to make this mobile battery compatible with other components. Think of USB, HDMI and other tech that has been adopted by nearly everyone.

(Image: Honda)

EV UTVs are already here:

There are several off-road manufacturers who build electric UTVs. At the moment, these vehicles are starting to make their way into the work world as more robust replacements for golf carts. Now, the market is turning and some consumers are looking at using these EV UTVs for fun, sport and leisure as well. Just like the automotive world, we expect off-road EV production to expand.

Off-road tech is changing by the day. We will see more EVs coming in the near future, and some naysayers may be mighty impressed with the performance of these vehicles. Making off-road EVs lighter, less expensive and less costly to build are major hurdles that must be addressed.

Maybe this Honda Synergy off-road concept could give us a glimpse of what our near future holds?

Speaking of EV off-road tech hitting the market:

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.