Honda reveals new EV concept at Frankfurt
The term “all-new” may be overused in the motor industry, but it definitely applies to a model Honda has just unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The model in question is the Urban EV Concept, which is an all-new electric vehicle built on an entirely new platform, showing the direction Honda is pursuing with its future electric production models.
But if that sounds as though this is one of those design exercises that never makes it anywhere near a production line, it’s not. When introducing the Urban EV Concept, Honda Motor Co. president and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo stated: “This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019.”
The exterior design of the car is unlike anything else Honda offers at the moment. It’s actually a simple and sophisticated design with low, wide proportions giving it a planted, muscular stance that hints at sporty driving characteristics. The concept is pretty small though, as it’s actually 100 millimeter shorter than the current Jazz supermini. The exterior is extremely modern, especially as the Honda emblem is backlit in blue, which is a new styling feature the company will be introducing for all future EVs. At the front of the Honda, interactive multilingual messages can be displayed between the headlights, such as greetings, advice for other drivers, or charging status updates. That’s very modern, but perhaps a gimmick that may be put on the back-burner for a while.
A great deal of time and effort has been put into the design elements of the exterior and especially the interior. The car has been designed to accommodate up to four occupants, across two bench seats that have been finished in different materials, and the seatbelts for the rear bench seat are fixed in the middle of the seat; the belt can retract out of the way before a passenger gets out of the car.
There’s also plenty of detail about systems such as the on-board advanced Honda Automated Network Assistant, which learns by detecting driver emotions behind their judgments and then applies what it has learned to make new choices and recommendations. What we don’t know yet are things like how far it will go on a single charge or how long it will take to recharge, so we’ll have to wait and see. JB