Honda Urban EV Concept will enter production next year with a five-seat configuration; bookings to begin globally in mid-2019
Honda will introduce two new electric cars next year as it moves closer to achieve the goal of electrifying two-third of its lineup by 2025. One model will focus on Chinese market while the other is a global product. What was believed to be the latter had come to light as a concept at the 2017 Frankfurt as well as Tokyo Motor Shows but none expected that it would be retro inspired.
The Urban EV concept will be spawning a road-going city car primarily for the European market by next year. Its production will begin in 2019 with bookings commencing in UK in the middle months. Like some other Japanese brands, Honda has not fully involved in launching full electric cars but it pioneered hydrogen fuel cell and hybrid revolutions with Clarity and Insight respectively.
To speed up the development of EVs, Honda’s CEO Takahiro Hachigo demanded a standalone electric car division in October 2016 with substantial investment. The new concept and the China-bound EV mark a significant change in the product strategy of Honda which recently signed a deal with Hitachi for forming new EV company.
Moreover, information regarding the global EV is scarce yet but Hachigo seems to have said that it will come equipped with high-density, lightweight battery pack, integrated heat management and the evolution of energy transfer functions. The electric powertrain was stated by him to allow greater degree of freedom for design of vehicle packaging.
Another important detail revealed by him previously was the potential plan of setting up high-speed charging systems to enable 150 miles (241 km) of driving range in just 15 minutes and the increasing demand for wireless charging technology. Honda has also displayed the prototype version of CR-V recently with new two-stage hybrid powertrain and it will be up for sale in Europe this year.
The new system, already sold in US and Japan, will be made available across the European lineup following the debut on CR-V. The dual electricity generating motors are connected to a 2.0-litre petrol engine.
The Urban EV Concept incorporate new Power Manager system which the brand says is designed to store energy more efficiently, releasing electricity generated by renewable sources back into the home or selling it back to the grid. It is confirmed to be “not some vision of the distant future” but a production model in the making though with a five-seat configuration.
Despite being smaller substantially than the Jazz, Honda fitted a four-seat cabin with pair of rear hinged suicide coach doors in the concept. The interior, split between two bench seats, is upholstered in grey cloth and accented by wood trim with a wraparound panoramic infotainment screen. The production version will have a conventional cabin and is expected to debut at the next edition of Geneva Motor Show.