Honda is looking to get its ‘engineering edge back’ while continuing to develop low- or zero-emissions cars over the next few years.

At the Tokyo show it gave clues as to what one of those cars might be while dropping hints about another.

Honda plans a series of electric cars to help it achieve the target of a 30% reduction in the average CO2 output of its range by 2020, based on 2005 levels, but they will not all be small urban runabouts. And a belated replacement for the legendary NSX supercar has been confirmed.

One of the highlights of the Honda stand is an electric two-seater rear-wheel drive convertible concept called EV-Ster. It has a carbon fibre body to keep down weight which means it is quick (0-37mph in around 5 seconds), despite a relatively modest 58kW output from its lithium-ion batteries, and has a range of up to 100 miles.

“At the next Tokyo show (in 2013) Honda will introduce sports models, including electric vehicles,” said president and CEO Takanobu Ito.

One of those models is believed to be the new NSX, which is currently under development. An all-wheel drive powertrain is currently being tested in an American market Honda Inspire and it is believed the new NSX could be shown as a concept as early as the Detroit show in January or at Geneva in March.

“What you see is the start of the new direction the company will take,” a Honda insider said. “There is a feeling among some senior people within the company and outsiders that we have gone off the boil lately but now we are looking to get our engineering edge back.”