The biennial Frankfurt Motor Show is usually dominated by European OEMs unveiling all kinds of high-performance or luxury models, but bucking this trend, Honda just debuted an exciting new design study that proves big reveals can come in small packages.
This cleanly styled little hatchback is the brand’s Urban EV Concept. As that name suggests, it’s an all-electric model, one with several clever features baked right in, like chunks of gristle in a mincemeat pie.
Riding on a completely new platform, this vehicle is equipped with a lightweight battery pack and integrated heat-management system, though no powertrain specifics have been made available.
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The Urban EV Concept’s overall length is 100 millimeters less than Honda’s Jazz, which is sold as the Fit in North America. This subcompact hatchback is only around four meters long, about 160 inches, which means this design study should be plenty maneuverable in tight areas.
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Refreshingly clean, this car looks like a modern take on the deliciously retro Honda N600 from decades past. But breaking with tradition, there’s an illuminated blue Honda logo up front, a new feature for the brand’s EV models. Also, you’ll notice a light-up display between the headlamps. It can indicate battery charge status or even display messages for other drivers, be them friendly or otherwise…
Inside, there’s room for four people on two bench seats, another retro touch. The dashboard features a massive screen, with smaller displays mounted on the door panels where they show video feeds from the exterior mirrors.
Lending a helping hand, this vehicle features Honda Automated Network Assistant (We’re going to call her HANA for short!), a digital concierge similar to Siri or Cortana. It can learn owner habits and even detect their emotions, which could be kind of creepy.
Far more than some pipe dream, the Urban EV Concept presages the design and technology that will be offered in a future production Honda, one that’s set to launch in Europe in 2019.
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