It's motor show season once again if you're in Europe, and as expected during a run up to a major international show, European carmakers are revealing their display vehicles in advance to entice showgoers.
But while Honda may be a Japanese manufacturer, they're bringing something special to the Geneva Motor Show. If it reminds you of a classic Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark1, we think so too.
Honda calls it the e Prototype; as its name states, it's electric.
The vehicle, according to Honda, represents the brand's strategy for Europe which is moving away from diesel (or even internal combustion in general) in favor of electric drive. Honda says they designed the e Prototype “to meet the needs of the modern lifestyle” and bring “a package perfect for the urban environment.”
The e Prototype itself is based on the Urban EV concept vehicle that they debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, and the look definitely is an evolution of that rather classic-looking concept car. But this time, it appears to be a functional vehicle as opposed to a show-only concept.
The e Prototype is an urban hatchback, and it appears to have four doors (five, if you include the tailgate) judging by the cuts on the side of the body. The vehicle is finished in a two-tone “panda” color scheme with a predominantly white body with black accents such as the roof (its glass), A- and B-pillars, wheels and skirts.
Honda seems to have kept car as minimalist as possible by using slim cameras as side “mirrors”, using flush door handles for the front and tucking the rear door handles (presumably) on the C-pillars. Like the Urban EV, Honda retained the headlight look, followed by the piano-black, vent-less grill; tomorrow's electric cars don't seem to need the same level of cooling required by internal combustion engines. The charging port under the black glass panel on the hood (or bonnet, depending on your version of English); it also has a display that shows charging status.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the e Prototype is that Honda took a page from MINI's book by stretching the wheelbase to reduce overhangs and giving it a wide track. Honda says it should help with maneuverability in the city and driving dynamics at speed.
Honda released images of the e Prototype's interior, showing a cabin that supposedly creates a lounge-like feel; the company used sofa fabrics and materials that are normally used in homes. The e Prototype has a dual screen set up on the dashboard, and can be customized depending on the driver's needs with a variety of apps and connected services. The rear view mirror also uses a camera.
Powering the e Prototype is a new platform from Honda that they claim can achieve a range of over 200 km, and get an 80% charge in 30 minutes. Interestingly enough, Honda says the e Prototype is actually rear-wheel drive; now that's unexpected. Production of the vehicle will start in late 2019.
The actual e Prototype will be revealed on March 5 at Geneva, and judging by what they're showing us, it could easily be the star of the show.