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Honda kicks off electric future with Urban EV Concept. Image by Honda.

Honda kicks off electric future with Urban EV Concept
New small electric city car due to go on sale in 2019
<< earlier Honda article     later Honda article >>


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What's all this then?

This is Honda's Urban EV Concept, a small electric concept car that takes design inspiration from the original Civic city car of the 1970s, but previews an actual 2019 production model. The Urban EV is 100mm shorter than a current Jazz, and is a four-seat all-electric car, and proof that Honda is at last starting to take EVs seriously.

What do you mean 'at last'?

The Japanese car maker has admitted that it has fallen behind major rivals in the electric car race, but company CEO Takahiro Hachigo, presenting the Urban EV Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, said that "this is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019."

So what can we expect from the production car?

Honda isn't talking specifics in terms of charging range or performance yet, but it has shown us the Urban EV's dramatic interior. Open the rear-hinged doors, and you'll find the cockpit is dominated by a massive, wide-but-shallow digital screen. This takes car of all of the major instrument and infotainment duties. There are little extra screens mounted in the doors, too, thanks to the fact that the Urban EV ditches side mirrors in favour of tiny rear-facing cameras, so the screens become your rear-view mirrors. There are seats for four, but a production version will probably have five seats.

Any new technology showcased?

Honda is also introducing some electric car backup systems. The Urban EV uses the Honda Automated Network Assistant, an on-board artificial intelligence that can learn your habits and driving routines and make helpful suggestions when you need them. There's also the Power Manager Concept, a smart wallbox that can charge your electric car, and also sell spare battery energy (or electricity from your own solar panels if you have them) back to the national grid.

Neil Briscoe - 12 Sep 2017

2017 Honda Urban EV concept. Image by Honda.2017 Honda Urban EV concept. Image by Honda.      - Honda road tests
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