The brands first EV sports car could put a big damper on its ICE-powered competition

LISTEN 12:10

Honda has big EV plans, and the first big step is bringing the Urban EV Concept to the market, in production form, by 2019. That much we know. And, if that’s any indication, that means the Sports EV Concept will be the next in line. And, that’s exactly why we’ve taken the liberty render up what the production model will look like. Naturally, it will maintain that sleek hatchback look but will, of course, get more production-friendly features. Range should be somewhere about the 250-mile mark and performance will likely come in somewhere around 300 to 350 horsepower. But, let’s talk more about that, and what it will take to morph the concept into a production model, in my speculative review below.

2020 Honda Sports EV Exterior Design

2020 Honda Sports EV
- image 779495
It’ll have that euphoric roofline with a massive roof that bleeds over onto the rear hatch

Much like we expect to see from the production version of the Urban EV Concept, the Sports EV concept will carry over the same general design. That means it’ll have that euphoric roofline with a massive roof that bleeds over onto the rear hatch (yes, there will be a rear hatch unlike what we saw on the concept.) And, it’ll even have that small stationary window behind the doors. Expect to see the rear end change a bit more than the rest of the car with the square taillights axed to make room for more traditional lights and that weird vent in the rear will probably get a redesign, so it doesn’t look so much like one of Honda’s cute robots. Why? Because this thing is going to compete in the compact sports car market against ICE-powered cars like the MX-5 Miata and the Subaru BRZ, and “cute” just isn’t going to be able to stand up against the aggressive looks of the competition.

Moving on, the side profile will probably carry over almost unchanged, save for a few little details. As you can see from our rendering, we’ve added in traditional door handles and the typical side-view mirrors. The same rounded but pronounced rear fenders will carry over, as will the large rear pillars and the muscular front fenders. The black trim below the door will be in place, however, it probably won’t be backlit as seen on the concept. As you might expect, the Sports EV will rock traditional Honda wheels, which could go up to 19-inches with sports tires. On the note of the side-view cameras, we’ve left those in place as they could be used to supplement a backup camera system, a blind-spot monitoring system, or a part-time autonomous system.

2017 Honda Sports EV Concept
- image 740625
Smooth body and lightweight
Moving on, the side profile will probably carry over almost unchanged, save for a few little details

As far as the front end goes, expect some minor changes here as well. First, the “hood” won’t have such a deep design. This will, instead, be an access door for small storage space or an area to access the electrical system. Those weird headlights will also be gone and will be replaced by projector units with LED rings around them. They’ll still keep the round design through and through, but they’ll certainly be less concept-like. The glossy finish on the black trim will be toned down, and the nose will change a bit to ditch that cute robot look for the same reasons mentioned before. As for the turn signals, you can expect them to appear either in the grille or those circular LED strips will change to orange when turns are being indicated. The side markers will also blink, for the record.

2020 Honda Sports EV Interior Design

2017 - 2020 Honda Civic Type R High Resolution Interior
- image 719381
A rear-view video monitor is likely, however, as it a flat bottom steering wheel and a pair of supportive flat seats.

When Honda debuted the Sports EV Concept, it neglected to fill us in on anything about the interior. We speculated at the time that it was similar to that of the Urban EV interior, albeit with more sports-car-like technology. Morphing into production, however, would bring this thing to a whole new level of cool. For starters, it’s bound to be a two-seater, so expect plenty of room for passengers, as long as there’s only two. Don’t expect to see a long infotainment screen either, at least not one that rests in the same position as we saw on the Urban EV concept. As a sports car, this vehicle will likely have a digital screen in front of the steering wheel that will display speed, battery life, range, and other data that’s needed on-the-go when hitting the track. A second screen or the extended portion of this screen will provide more in-depth performance data like g-forces, track times, and charging performance. There will also be navigation and probably the ability to store specific track maps, etc.

Even though it’s a sports car, there won’t be a transmission, so there isn’t really a need for a center console or a gear shifter of any kind. Honda could go all out and install a transmission of sorts or a simulator, rather, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for that. It would be a bit too much, honestly. A rear-view video monitor is likely, however, as it a flat bottom steering wheel and a pair of supportive flat seats. These seats, by the way, could mimic those of the Civic Type R and may even have holes for a five-point harness. Cargo room will be limited, but since it is a two-seater, there will be a little bit of room to carry some goodies when needed.

2020 Honda Sports EV Performance

2020 Honda Sports EV
- image 779496
Battery capacity and range is also a big mystery at this point, but we do know that Honda is aiming to deliver 240 km (about 150 miles) or at least 80 percent after charging for 15 minutes

Honda never divulged any details about the drivetrains found in either the Urban EV or Sports EV concepts, so as you can probably guess, the following is all speculation. With that in mind, there’s a lot of potential here. We know this is slated to be a sports car (obviously,) so it’s going to be fast. We’ve estimated that it will deliver somewhere between 290 and 340 horsepower – enough for it to compete with cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Volkswagen Golf R, and even the Subaru BRZ. Of course, it will do so with all battery power, but that’s the point; Honda will have a true, all-electric performer on the market first and it could start chipping away at the customer base of these models.

The Sports EV could be offered in front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or even all-wheel drive. It just depends on how Honda designs the platform that underpins its first electric cars. If it can accommodate front and rear motors, expect the FWD model to be the entry-level model with all-wheel-driving coming in the high-range models. It will likely offer the ability to turn off either motor for efficiency purpose or for playtime, of course.

Battery capacity and range is also a big mystery at this point, but we do know that Honda is aiming to deliver 240 km (about 150 miles) or at least 80 percent after charging for 15 minutes. That means you can expect a range of at least 150 miles, but it’ll probably fall somewhere between 200 and 250 miles. There’s already a number of electric models out there with these types of figures, and every brand from Volkswagen to Ford to Toyota are working on their EV strategies as well. By 2025, EVs will be available at just about every dealer so Honda won’t drop the ball on this one. Plus, it’s a sports car, so it’ll need to offer up a decent range to appease that crowd.

The important thing is overall performance. Based on the instant torque available from electric motors, the ability to produce outrageous amounts of horsepower, and the sheer, lightweight nature of the Sports EV, a sub-three-second sprint to 60 mph isn’t exactly out of the question. Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 seconds is more likely, but Honda could really deliver here if it wanted to. Top speed will probably somewhere around the 140 mph range at first but expect those limits to be raised as Honda continues to develop its EV technology.

2020 Honda Sports EV Pricing

This thing is going to be all-electric, and it’s going to offer Type R-like performance, so it won’t be the cheapest car on the market. But, it won’t be overpriced, either. Expect it to start out somewhere around $36,000 with range-topping models coming in around $40,000. Sure, that would make it the most expensive model in the lineup, but EV technology is still quite expensive – the same reason the Clarity Plug-in starts at $33,400.

2020 Honda Sports Ev Competition

Volkswagen I.D. Hatchback

2016 Volkswagen I.D. Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 689661

There’s been a lot of attention given to the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz and even the I.D. Crozz thanks to the obsession with SUVs, but don’t forget about that little electric hatchback that VW debuted back in 2016. It’s not quite a sports car like the Sports EV, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that hatchbacks can be sports cars too. This thing should have between 248 and 372 miles of range, The concept shown above, however, offered a mundane 167 horsepower – far than enough to compete with the Sports EV. But, Volkswagen will not make that mistake and will come correct with at least 250 horsepower, if not a little more. It will all depend on the competition at the time and what the market demands when the car finally hits showrooms. That’s the nice thing about EVs – more powerful motors can easily be integrated without too much issue. The I.D. Hatchback will likely come in somewhere between $35,000 and $40,000, with an emphasis on it being closer to the $40k mark since VW still hasn’t figured out that it isn’t a luxury brand.

Read our full review on the 2016 Volkswagen I.D. Hatchback

Mercedes EQA

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 730884

The Mercedes EQA will essentially be an electric A-Class, but it’s a prime contender for the Sports EV in that it will offer a similar power output and could even offer similar luxury if Honda does its job. Either way, the EQA, in concept form, offered up 269 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque but was built on a scalable architecture with a scalable battery, so more power could be offered in the future. Range on the concept was set at 249 miles, exactly where we expect the Sports EV to sit. It will offer up to 62 miles on a 10-minute charge, so that’s not bad but a little slower than what Honda is promising by 2020. The big difference here is that the EQA will be a five-seater as opposed to offering room for just two people. Pricing will likely start around $40,000 for the entry-level model and go up from there.

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes EQA.

Final Thoughts

2020 Honda Sports EV Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 752717

Honda could be the first of the mainstream automakers to have a feasible sports car on the market, or at least a two-seater sports car anyway. So, it will really compete in its own niche, and overflow into a number of others. It’ll compete with the EV hatchbacks from VW and Mercedes while at the same time competing with cars like the hardtop Miata and Volkswagen Gold. It seems confusing but that’s a lot of space to cover with one car, and it could really work in Honda’s benefit should the company manage to offer the right range, right power, and right price. That trio is what will make or break a car like this, and we’re very curious to see what happens in the long term.

  • Leave it
    • No word on produciton quite yet
    • May not get to the market before other automakers do
    • It’s not in my driveway


2017 Honda Sports EV Concept
- image 740626

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

- image 742500

Read more Honda news.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder:
  • Honda Sports EV