City Car Charged With Cuteness And Electrons

Revealed in front of a massive black screen, the strikingly white Honda e Prototype was one of the cutest highlights at the this year’s Geneva Motor show. It is still a concept, just like it was two years ago in Geneva, but in this case, the e Prototype is far closer to production. It feels much more real in its efforts to combine modernity of the electric vehicles and emotionally charged retro styling directly linked with early Honda cars. The small electric city dweller with 124 miles of range takes the aim to shoot for the B segment of the European car hierarchy. That will make it a direct competitor to cars such as the Peugeot 208, or the Renault Clio, both of which have been refreshed and unveiled at this year’s show, by the way.

The Honda e Prototype On The Geneva Motor Show Floor

Awesome Honda e Prototype Is The Cutest Thing At The 2019 Geneva Motor Show
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I came to see the Honda e Prototype on the show after taking a few glances at the Abarth collection that (among other things) included the 1957 Fiat 500 Zagato Coupe (cutest thing ever). After I concluded that no one makes cars as cute or as beautiful as Abarth I moved on to drool over the oustanteousity of Mansory. Then, a few exhibition stands later, the Honda e Prototype was sitting surrounded by journalists and photographers. It was really close to yet another hit – the Jimny. And then it hit me that I was wrong. We do have seriously cute cars nowadays. More so than ever.

This Is Why Honda Wants To Make The Honda e Prototype the Real-Deal

Awesome Honda e Prototype Is The Cutest Thing At The 2019 Geneva Motor Show
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The Honda e Prototype is actually a smart execution of the vehicle that should be really successful in Europe – a small, relatively short-range runabout for congested Europe cities. Honda officials actually hinted at the possibility of the small EV development back in 2011 when Takanobu Ito, Honda boss, said that “For Japan, Europe, and certain parts of Asia, we think the smaller category would be an option. In this category, the smaller Evs would be an option.“

Well, this is it. Eight years after Ito said those words we have the e Prototype.

The Honda e Prototype Production Version

Awesome Honda e Prototype Is The Cutest Thing At The 2019 Geneva Motor Show
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The evolution of the Honda e Prototype is most evident when compared with the concept from 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

The E Prototype gained two more doors, lost that extremely futuristic cabin for something „normally“ futuristic and feasible, and gained real batteries.

They will be able to provide enough electrons for 124 miles of range. I know this sounds laughable for all of you Tesla-loving gearheads, but the e Prototype is aimed at small European cities with challenging and narrow streets. It is also perfect for commuters who do not travel for ages to get to work or get groceries. Considering that 80 percent of the battery can be recharged in 30 minutes, this 124 miles of range concept seems seriously well balanced with the real needs.

While the production version is to be even more „down to Earth“ compared with the e Prototype concept from 2019 Geneva Motor Show, it may retain some of its cool features. The e Prototype has plenty of those. Cool features on the Honda e Prototype include:

  • Cameras instead of rearview mirrors
  • Four massive displays (two of which are for the rearview mirrors)
  • Flush door handles
  • Tinted glass roof
  • Glass over the front charging ports
  • See-through front grille with Honda logo behind it
  • Intricate illumination start-up sequence on the front lights
  • Wooden wrapped surfaces in the cabin

Actually, the cabin is one of the most impressive characteristics of the new Honda e Prototype. Not only does it look cool, but Honda managed to cram a whole lot of space inside. That space is occupied by awesome seats, physical controls for the air con (a really neat touch), and a cool steering wheel.

Drivetrain

Awesome Honda e Prototype Is The Cutest Thing At The 2019 Geneva Motor Show
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Unfortunately, we do not know a lot about the drivetrain except for the fact that the e Prototype can cover 200 miles, be recharged up to 80 percent of its capacity in 30 minutes. And a big one. It is rear wheel driven. Yup, the e Prototype is a rear wheel drive car. Not surprising really as that frees up space up front and in the cabin. Plus, it makes for smarter packaging of the batteries and in return gives somewhat lively driving dynamics. It is definitely more fun than FWD. I think we are to see a number of RWD electric cars in the near future. VW’s ID line of cars will be largely rear wheel driven.

Conclusion

Awesome Honda e Prototype Is The Cutest Thing At The 2019 Geneva Motor Show
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The Honda e Prototype is a long Honda dream that came true. You will be able to place an order for it this summer, and production will kick off later this year. Sure, we have yet to see that production car. It will be somewhat different from this particular e Prototype.

Further Reading

2020 Honda Urban EV
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Read our speculative review on the 2020 Honda Urban EV.

2017 Honda Urban EV Concept AutoShow High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Urban EV Concept.

2020 Honda Sports EV Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Honda Sports EV.

2017 Honda Sports EV Concept
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Two seats mean decent cargo room

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Sports EV Concept.

Honda took to the stage at Geneva today to announce the further acceleration of its electrification ambitions. The company announced its intention to move 100 per cent of its European sales to electrified powertrains by 2025. This new ambition builds on the brand’s 2017 aim of two-thirds of its sales to be electrified by 2025, and places it firmly at the forefront of Honda’s global electrification shift announced as part of its 2030 vision.

Speaking at today’s press conference, Tom Gardner, Senior Vice President, Honda Motor Europe, said, “…since we made that first pledge in March 2017, the shift towards electrification has gathered pace considerably. Environmental challenges continue to drive demand for cleaner mobility. Technology marches on unrelenting and people are starting to shift their view of the car itself.”

Honda e Prototype unveiled
Further proof of Honda’s electrification ambition was seen in the shape of the Honda e Prototype. Unveiled for the first time at Geneva, the car previews Honda’s first production battery electric vehicle for the European market. Positioned as an urban commuter, the car features a competitive range of over 200km and a ‘fast charge’ functionality providing 80% range in just 30 minutes. It also features trademark Honda driving dynamics with a sporty rear wheel drive configuration. The production version of the Honda e Prototype will be unveiled later this year. Customers can register for updates on the Honda website now, and will be able to place a reservation for the car in selected European markets in early summer. To date Honda has received 15,000 registrations of interest for the Honda e Prototype.

Further roll out of full hybrid technology
Early in 2019, Honda successfully launched the all-new CR-V Hybrid, featuring its two-motor i-MMD full hybrid technology. Honda expects full hybrid technology to play a key role in meeting its aims of 100% electrification by 2025.

Honda to develop energy management business for Europe
Honda took the opportunity of its Geneva press conference to share the first details of its developing energy management solutions business for Europe. This announcement builds on the Power Manager bi-directional charging concept first shown at Frankfurt motor show in 2017.

Honda intends to build a portfolio of energy management products and services offering a comprehensive solution for both EV customers and service operators in Europe.

Tom Gardner said, “This is a significant move for Honda, our intention is to deliver industry-leading innovation by launching energy services…to create additional value for power system operators and EV customers alike.”

Honda has been working with EVTEC to further develop its bi-directional Honda Power Manager technology (compatible with battery-electric vehicles, such as the Honda e Prototype) and will plan to offer a commercial version in the coming years.

Honda has also announced an agreement with two external partners:

Moixa, a company who specialise in ‘resource aggregator‘ technology, allowing customers to benefit from sharing the control and capacity of their EV battery
Ubitricity, a leading supplier of charging solutions, including an innovative approach to on-street charging in urban areas

The next step is to embark upon feasibility studies for its technologies in London, UK and Offenbach, Germany. Further developments are expected to be announced later this year.

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