Honda CR-V interior, exterior, plugged in
Justin Hart's picture

Honda Debuts CR-V Plug-In Hybrid, For European Market

Honda unveiled its brand new CR-V plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUV last week at a media event held at their European R&D Center in Germany. Given that Honda currently lacks any plug-in vehicle selection in the US market, this news may raise the hopes of those who are anxious for Honda to bring plug-in vehicles back to the US. Let’s take a look at early specs.

According to, the estimated range for the CR-V PHEV, on a full charge, will be 82 km/51 miles (note that this is assumed to be on the WLTP scale, and not the US EPA scale which would almost certainly be lower, perhaps between 42- 45 miles). The battery is apparently able to be recharged in 2.5 hours (from empty) when its temperature is a balmy 77F. All that is just to say that the CR-V likely supports 6.6 kW or better 240V charging and may charge more slowly if the temperatures are significant hotter or colder than 77 degrees Fahrenheit (how much slower though, is just a guess, but likely no more than an extra 15-30 minutes). The 2023 CR-V is slightly longer and ever wider than the previous generation (the wheelbase is stretched modestly as well), and there is about 18% more cargo capacity in the rear as well as a small increase (less than an inch) in rear seat legroom too. Apparently the PHEV will be AWD, and the charge port is clearly visible in the driver side front fender (a good location given the ease of nose-in parking for most charging scenarios). The CR-V PHEV will also utilize Honda’s naturally aspirated 2.0 liter 4 cylinder gas engine as well.

Since Honda only sells the CR-V Hybrid (HEV) in the US, I expect many eco conscious Honda fans (and I trust that there are many) are anxious to know if and when we might see the CR-V PHEV in the US. I want to be positive, hopeful even, I really do. Honda is the brand I have felt the most allegiance to my entire adult life, only leaving them behind when they failed to truly embrace the adoption of plug-in vehicles in earnest. That isn’t to say Honda didn’t try, because they did, a little. Anyone remember the Fit EV? What about the Accord PHEV? Or maybe you recall the more recent Clarity EV and or Clarity PHEV? All of them, with perhaps the sole exception of the Clarity PHEV, were compliance cars. That means Honda only ever sold a few - several thousand each year (if they sold them at all as some were lease only). Let’s just say all of these vehicles are the least Honda could have done to pursue plug-in vehicle development. They are a smaller auto company though, and their much larger rival, Toyota, has not really been a leader in plug-in vehicle development either (just pointing out that Honda isn’t alone in their late comer status). But the CR-V PHEV looks like it could be a serious contender to the likes of the Toyota Rav 4 Prime PHEV, the 4 Kia and Hyundai PHEV SUVs (Sorento, Sportage, Tucson and Santa Fe), not to mention the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Not to be the spoiler, but personally I have a low level of confidence that Honda is going to bring the CR-V PHEV to the US market. Here’s why I say that: Honda has a limited supply of batteries, compared to other automakers. This is one reason they are partnering with GM to bring their first EVs to market next year. Honda also doesn’t yet have much or any capacity to manufacture, assemble or source the necessary drivetrain components it needs in the US or from US and free trade allies any time soon. Those things are necessary for Honda vehicles to qualify for federal incentives of course. So, since Honda can’t qualify for those incentives initially, and because they are late comers to the EV and PHEV race, that means their vehicles are going to either be substantially more expensive than competing brands that have been at this longer and are eligible for US incentives, or they are going to have to take significant losses on the sales of their plug-in vehicles. Thus, I don’t think the CR-V PHEV is headed to the US, at least not any time soon (maybe in a few years from now perhaps). I hope I am wrong about that, but I just prefer to be pessimistic here given all the available data.

What do you think? Will Honda bring its newest PHEV to the US too? Does that even matter, considering the impending EV models Honda has in the works for the US market? Please leave your questions and comments below.

Images courtesy of Honda.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 15 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.

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