At last week’s Frankfurt auto show, automakers vied to show that Tesla won’t overtake them by introducing a passel of battery-electric vehicles themselves. Here’s a look from Clean Fleet Report of one of those new electrified cars that you could be driving by the end of this decade.
Design Purity & Electric Power Win Our Hearts
Amidst high-performance supercars, flashy designed luxury cars and a passel of self-driving electric car concepts, the pint-size, almost plain-Jane Honda Urban EV Concept won our hearts at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. It was brilliant in its simplicity and design purity, a styling choice rarely seen these days.
A wisp shorter than the Honda Fit, the Urban EV Concept hearkens back to the original Civic with its hatchback shape, round headlights and rectangular grill, which is now a screen between the headlights that can display messages to the outside world, including greetings, advice for other drivers on the road, or charging status updates. The rear end has the same feature, and the blue backlit Honda badge is a design cue that will be used on the company’s EVs going forward.
Entry and exit from the vehicle is via rear-hinged coach doors, formerly called “suicide doors.” The electric charging cable connection is housed on the hood.
A Throw-back Machine
The four-passenger car features 1970s-style twin bench seats with fabric upholstery. Seat backs and arm rests are embellished with wood finish accents. The same wood finish wraps around a large “floating” dashboard console. This houses the steering wheel column, a set of simple control buttons and a panoramic display screen. The dashboard itself is completed by a wrap-around screen that runs behind the console and extends into the doors. The main dashboard screen presents a range of vehicle information, including remaining battery charge level.
Honda included the advanced Automated Network Assistant, which acts as a personal concierge. It is said to learn from the driver and detect emotions behind his/her judgements. It can then use this information to make new choices and recommendations to the driver.
No details on the range of the electric powertrain were released, but Honda says key parts of the powertrain development will include a high-density, lightweight battery pack, integrated heat management and the evolution of energy transfer functions–both to and from the vehicle.
The Urban EV Concept is no concept pipe dream. During the introduction in Frankfurt, Honda Motor Co. president and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, said, “This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019.”
While Honda’s Urban EVs will be buzzing around European cities two years from now, the company made no mention of if or when it would come to the U.S. That saddens us somewhat, because we want to drive it, and hope that the production model looks as cool as the concept!
Related Stories from the Frankfurt Motor Show:
News: Mini EV Teased Ahead of Frankfurt Motor Show