2017 Frankfurt - Honda's 'Urban EV Concept' previews a full-electric city car of the future

When was the last time you were excited on seeing a car as small as this? Not in the recent past, I presume, given the fact cars have only been getting bigger and bigger with every new iteration. Bucking the trend at the ongoing 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is this cute little car from Honda, dubbed the Urban EV Concept.

Based on an all-new platform, the Urban EV Concept, Honda says, previews the design and technology that will appear on a future battery electric production model from the Japanese brand that could debut in Europe as early as 2019.

Have a look at the car and you'll agree its hard not to like it, inside out. 

Externally, the chic retro lines are a throwback to the wonderful compact cars Honda produced in the seventies and eighties. Those were the days when the Civic was as big as today’s Fiat 500! 

Replacing the grille up front is a display panel that connects the circular LED headlights and capable of flashing interactive messages like greetings, advice to road users and charging status updates. Cool, no? A ‘backlit-in-blue’ Honda logo sits right in the middle of the panel, a design element that the brand’s future EVs would sport. The windshield and the side windows appear to wrap themselves around the car. The rear gets a matching display panel like the front, only here the lights are perfect little squares. The wide and low stance, together with the flared wheel arches adds a bit of muscularity to this little city runabout. 

Access to the interiors are through rear-hinged coach doors, like the ones you see in Rolls-Royce. Two bench seats inside have been designed to accommodate four occupants. The minimalist cabin is dominated by a super-wide display screen that possibly presents the entire gamut of information for the driver's disposal. The screens even extend on the doors on either sides where they function as rear-view mirrors by feeding inputs from digital cameras. Notably, the whole cabin is devoid of knobs and buttons. Even the steering wheel, which these days houses a plethora of buttons, is delightfully clean. If this cabin makes it to production, we would be really surprised. 

Advanced technologies on board the car include 'Honda Automated Network Assistant' - a personal concierge that can learn to make recommendations by observing driver's past judgements and 'Honda Power Manager' - a system that can store and release energy back to the grid.

Though Honda did not divulge details on what powers the Urban EV concept, they did announce their 'Electric Vision' strategy that includes the development of a dedicated electric vehicle platform featuring fully-electric technology.

Overall, the Urban EV Concept is small, fashionable, non-polluting and futuristic. This is just what we need in our cities!

The folks at Honda have been caught napping by their rivals in the race for electrification, no doubt, but if the Urban EV Concept is any indication, they are making up big time for the time lost so far. Watch out!

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