Published on March 6th, 2019 | by Steve Hanley
March 6th, 2019 by Steve Hanley
The Honda Urban EV is finally on public display at the Geneva auto show, where it is causing quite a stir. It’s cute in a retro sort of way but loaded with high tech geewizardry on the inside. Once glance at the full-width touchscreen on the inside will tell you this is no ordinary car. Production is rumored to begin sometime next year. Here’s a YouTube video of the Urban EV by CAR Magazine.
Honda has said little about pricing, but Driving Electric suggests the car will be priced similarly to the BMW i3. CAR Magazine also says the price will be at the “upper end of people’s expectations.” That seems a bit of stretch for a car with a modest 120 miles of range, but we won’t know more until production actually begins.
What we do know is that Kohei Hitomi, project manager for the Urban EV, told the press in Geneva that the platform developed for the show car will serve as the foundation for an entire family of compact electric cars. One of them may be the Sports EV Concept revealed at the Frankfurt auto show in 2017, according to Electrive.
That delightful 2-passenger coupe — seen in the Honda video below — is once again a vaguely retro-looking vehicle that evokes images of high performance sport coupes of the past. Squint a little and you can see hints of the Jaguar XK-E, the original Datsun 240Z, and even the iconic Toyota 2000 GT that starred in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.
The Sports EV Concept might not do much to move the EV revolution forward, but damn, it sure looks like it would be a fun car to drive! The fact the new chassis uses a rear wheel drive configuration only adds to the excitement.
Honda, like Volkswagen with its new MEB platform, needs to spread development costs over a large number of production cars in order to make a profit, but it has been very low key in its electric car efforts to date. Perhaps it is now ready to stretch its wings and bring some competitive EVs to market in the near future?
It appears to have the platform it needs — long wheel base, wide track, and short overhangs — to enter the electric car fray with a whole family of A and B segment cars. Whether those cars will be affordable is anyone’s guess at the moment.
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