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Honda e:Ny1 will get a new name with the upcoming facelift

Honda is changing the name of its electric cars after customers found the e:N badge too difficult to pronounce.

The Japanese brand unveiled the new naming system at the Beijing Motor Show, starting with the Ye P7 large SUV that will go on sale in China later this year.

Honda UK is importing its only EV, the e:Ny1 small SUV, from China, where the e:N naming convention originated, and the name will be changed when the car gets a facelift, a source close to Honda said.

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

The update, expected next year, will also include some design cues from the P7, including the illuminated Honda emblem, the source said.

In China, Honda uses the name e:NS1 or e:NP1 for its small electric SUV, depending on whether the car is made by its joint venture with Dongfeng or the one with GAC, while in Europe it uses e:Ny1.

Under the new naming scheme, Honda in China has retained the letters P and S depending on which joint venture builds the car, meaning in Europe it could name the car Y1.

Keeping the Y element would also avoid awkward conversions with McLaren or Audi if the name P1 or S1 is used.

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 because they were too similar to the S6 and S8.

The new P7/S7 is the first car from Honda’s new Ye series, based on a newly developed EV-specific platform. Honda has said it will launch a total of 10 new electric vehicles in China by 2027.

The separate EV branding is part of a strategy by Honda in China to elevate its brand in the move to electric, in an effort to better compete amid a brutal price war.

The move to the new name and design language came too late for the new e:NS2 mid-size hatchback, which has just gone on sale in China for ¥159,800 (£17,700) – a price so cheap that Honda is offering the equivalent of £17,700 loses. 5,500 per car, the source said.

The e:NS2which could potentially follow the e:Ny1 to Europe, has a 68.8 kWh battery pack for a CLTC range of 539 miles.

Honda sells the e:Ny1 in Britain from £39,995, although it has offered heavy discounts (currently £3000, with financing at just 1.9% APR) in a bid to meet its 2024 ZEV mandate target.