It turns out Honda Urban EV that was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show two years ago to our loving eyes was a prototype of a prototype. Today we’re graced with the next stage in Honda’s retro urban EV prototype evolution, the Honda E prototype, which will be displayed at the Geneva Auto Show…

According to the various videos below from European sites that covered the announcement, this prototype is very close to production and is 98% of what the vehicle will look like. We first caught a glimpse of the design last month.

Some interesting developments include side mirror cameras which have existed for a long time but we first saw on the Tesla Model X prototype and has since been released on the Audi E-Trons destined for Europe.

The modern/retro interior is accented by the wrap around group of 8-inch displays that are slightly reminiscent of Byton’s dashboard design. We first peeped this display 2 weeks ago in a teaser.

Honda E Prototype Specs

Some important specs from Honda: over 200km (assuming this is WLTP so “optimistic”) range or almost 125 miles. That means EPA range would be around 100 miles if this were to come to the US. That would be close to Honda’s Clarity EV compliance car and assuming the bigger Clarity EV might mean the two share a similar 25 kWh battery pack.

Also, Honda alludes to fast charging which it says can charge “80% battery charge in 30 minutes”. Because this is destined for Europe and the Clarity uses CCS combo, I would assume this also uses CCS. However, Honda is a Japanese brand where CHAdeMO still reigns supreme. Either way, charging 80% of a ~25kWh battery in 30 minutes isn’t going to set any records. Update: from video below it is CCS combo though there is room for a few chargers meaning that if this did get released in Japan it might be CHAdeMO there.

Last year, GM and Honda announced that they are partnering to build next-gen batteries for electric vehicles and the automaker is reportedly working on an affordable all-electric Fit-based car with China’s biggest battery maker.

Honda will actually begin production of the E later this year which will be destined for Europe. Honda has secured enough batteries to supply 1 million EVs from China’s CATL but I don’t think they will run out on the E alone.

Electrek’s take:

OK, I don’t hate it. The 100 mile range is weak sauce but fine for urban driving. DC fast charging will help make midrange trips and faster city charging bearable. This won’t be a fast EV and it doesn’t look roomy either.

The most important aspect here is the design which I still quite like – perhaps not as much as the prototype Urban E. I think it will be popular in European cities.

I can’t help but wonder how well GM would have done with a profitable Bolt/Ampera E with half the battery and less polarizing design.

The Honda E will also be going up against the established WV eGolf and new ID compact cars which will give it some stiff competition. City-dwelling EV drivers will also have the established Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf, Smarts and others to contend with.

That’s why I think this design is the key here. In specs (performance, room,  range, etc), Honda isn’t going to beat anyone. But that design and a reasonable price, which isn’t yet public, will be the way that Honda brings in EV customers.

Here are some of the videos put out this morning by our colleagues in Europe:

Press release follows:

“Honda e Prototype” World Premiere at Geneva International Motor Show 2019

February 27, 2019, Switzerland

Automobile

  • Honda e Prototype previews production model evolved from 2017 Urban EV Concept
  • Distinctive, clean exterior design combined with a contemporary, minimalist interior featuring advanced technology
  • Rear-wheel-drive platform and wide stance deliver dynamic driving characteristics
  • Honda e Prototype delivers a vehicle package to meet the needs of the modern urban environment
HONDA E PROTOTYPE

HONDA E PROTOTYPE

Honda’s new urban electric vehicle will be previewed at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show in the form of the Honda e Prototype. This new model leads on from the brand’s highly acclaimed 2017 Urban EV Concept, and is a key part of Honda’s “Electric Vision” strategy for the European region.

Designed to meet the needs of the modern lifestyle, the Honda e Prototype combines unique design, advanced functionality and engaging driving dynamics. The vehicle delivers a package perfect for the urban environment.

Distinctive, simple exterior design

The Honda e Prototype has been developed with a focus on functionality & purpose featuring a simplicity of design with unique character. The smooth body contours lead from the bonnet to the panoramic windscreen to create a continuous surface up and over the front passengers. Further enhancing aerodynamic performance, the stepless A-pillars sit virtually flush with the glass, to help deliver a quiet, refined journey.

Stand-out style elements, which accentuate the clean, uncluttered profile, include flush ‘pop out’ door handles and compact cameras replacing traditional side view mirrors.  Both the door handles and Camera Mirror System are unique features for a vehicle in this class. The car’s advanced charging port is integrated centrally in the bonnet for ease of use from either side of the car, with LED lighting visible through the glass cover to welcome the driver and inform of the battery charging status.

Black panels with unique concave profiles at the front and rear are defining design motifs. The unique and exacting attention to detail of the round light clusters enhance the overall simple, clean design and defines the Honda e Prototype’s ‘human face’.

Beneath the skin is an all-new, EV-specific platform that allows for compact proportions, while a relatively long wheelbase, wide track and short overhangs facilitate exceptional urban manoeuvrability and dynamic driving characteristics. The appearance of a low, muscular stance – emphasised by the flared wheel arches that accommodate the wide tyres – lends a dynamic accent to the simple, clean exterior design.

HONDA E PROTOTYPE

HONDA E PROTOTYPE

Contemporary interior with advanced technology

Inside, a spacious cabin with a modern minimalist aesthetic creates a relaxed ambience for occupants. A comfortable lounge-like feel is achieved with the application of melange-style sofa fabric and other tactile materials often found in contemporary homes. The sense of spaciousness is enhanced by the walk-through flat floor in the front and rear of the cabin.

To keep occupants engaged with their connected lifestyles, the intuitive and customisable dual screen horizontal display features a range of intelligent applications and services. This sophisticated high-end interface has been designed for ultimate usability and shifts the car beyond being a means of transportation to become fully integrated into modern everyday life.

The array of next-generation digital aids is presented alongside many of the car’s comfort and infotainment controls for easy multi-tasking and simple menu navigation. Screens showing the rear-view images relayed from the Camera Mirror System are integrated at either end of the dashboard ergonomically positioned to ensure a natural feel and vision for the driver.  The vehicle also features a digital rear view camera increasing the driver’s field of vision.

Sporty and efficient for urban commutes

The first compact Honda car on a dedicated EV platform delivers a blend of efficiency, performance and usability that is perfect for urban environments. The Honda e Prototype will deliver a range of over 200km and a ‘fast charge’ functionality of 80% battery charge in 30 minutes, making it ideal for everyday commuting. On the road, the driving dynamics are focused on delivering a fun and emotive experience, with the powerful electric motor driven through rear wheels for next-generation small-car performance.

The Honda e Prototype will be unveiled on 5 March at the Geneva International Motor Show. Production of Honda’s compact urban electric vehicle will begin later this year.

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