Honda Undaunted About Ultium Platform EVs, Despite Blazer Stop-Sale


Honda is pressing on with two major EV launches planned for this year despite issues surrounding the General Motors Ultium battery platform, upon which Honda’s EVs will be based.

At a business briefing event held today with members of the media, Mamadou Diallo, American Honda’s senior vice-president of auto sales, laid out the plans for Honda’s North American division in the coming year. Following the briefing, Diallo was asked whether there were any concerns that software problems with GM’s own Ultium-based products—related to a recent voluntary stop-sale of the Chevrolet Blazer EV—might negatively affect the launches of the Prologue and ZDX. “We’re confident that the software issues will be addressed by the time that we begin deliveries,” Diallo said.

Later this year, Honda’s first two volume EVs—the Honda Prologue and the Acura ZDX—will arrive at dealerships. Both of these crossover SUV-type electric vehicles will make use of GM’s Ultium battery platform, the fruit of a partnership between Honda and GM that was announced in April of 2022. That partnership was initially supposed to produce a handful of affordable, “sub-$30K” EVs as well, but Honda and GM nixed said venture in October of 2023. The Prologue and ZDX were far enough along to warrant seeing through to completion and launch.

2024 Honda Prologue Styling Reveal EV

Make of the split what you will, but these first two offerings are going to be vital for Honda, which wants to produce more than 2 million BEVs annually by 2030. Getting off on the right foot is imperative, and as it stands, the launchpad for the Prologue and ZDX may raise some questions.

To recap: Late last year, Chevrolet issued a stop-sale order for the hotly-anticipated Blazer EV, one of its most important new vehicles, citing concerns about software issues that were leaving owners stranded.

A statement provided by Chevrolet spokesperson Chad Lyons reads as follows: “We are aware that a portion of Blazer EV owners have experienced some software quality issues. To ensure our customers have a great experience with their vehicle, we are temporarily pausing sales of Blazer EVs. Our team is working quickly to roll out a fix, and owners will be contacted with further information on how to schedule their update. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV rear three quarter charging EVGO station
GM/Jim Frenak

Those teething issues on the Blazer appear to involve infotainment screens that are flickering and then turning off completely, and some news outlets such as Edmunds and InsideEVs reported more serious problems around charging system failures and modules that were no longer communicating with the vehicle.

In Edmunds’ case, which had purchased the vehicle to add to its long-term test fleet just two months earlier, the Blazer EV in question experienced 23 different problems that resulted in a multi-week dealership visit. Edmunds noted that a GM engineer and a technician from another dealership were flown out to attempt to remedy the issues. Their story detailing the issues came out on December 20 of last year, and at that point, the car had been in the shop for two weeks.

Lyons tells us that the Blazer EV is the only vehicle affected by the stop-sale. Meanwhile, in a follow-up story, InsideEVs reported that it had received emails from owners of not only the Blazer EV but also from owners of the GMC Hummer EV and the Cadillac Lyriq—offerings also based on the Ultium platform—who said they had experienced similar issues.

2024 ZDX Type S

Honda has not provided any hard dates on when those Prologue and ZDX deliveries will begin, saying only that both EVs will arrive at dealers in early 2024. It may be a case where Honda will sit tight and hold any specifics until it has fully confirmed that these issues won’t affect its products.

2024 Prologue Elite

The precise extent to which the aforementioned issues could affect the Honda models is not known; Honda appears poised to offer its own software and user experience for the Prologue, ditto Acura with the ZDX. (A key differentiator between the Prologue and anything GM? The inclusion of Apple CarPlay, which GM is dropping this year on all new vehicles, starting with the 2024 Blazer.)

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Per Lyons’ statement above, the stop-sale for the Blazer EV is still ongoing, and there’s no official end in sight. With no specific timeline in place for an “all-clear” announcement, Honda and Acura may yet have to adjust their paddles on the launch of arguably each brand’s most important new vehicle of the year.




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