New Honda e Prototype Charges Into Geneva – Previews Retro-Inspired Production Model  

By Steve & Tamami Laser

Honda is ready to take the next step in its EV product plan for Europe by introducing the new e Prototype at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

Built on an all-new EV-specific rear-drive platform, the e Prototype four-door hatchback previews a production model that the automaker plans to put on sale later this year as part of its “Electric Vision” strategy.

Billed as a sporty and efficient compact for urban environments, Honda says that the e Prototype will deliver a range of “over 200km” and a fast-charge functionality of 80 percent battery in charge in “30 minutes.”

The cabin offers a lounge-like environment with “mélange-style sofa fabric” and flat floor. A high-tech horizontal display with dual screens is said to offer next-generation digital aids for controlling things like the infotainment and navigation systems. The driver also can monitor images from the Camera Mirror System that replaces conventional outside mirrors.

We don’t know if Honda plans to bring the eventual production version of its new EV to America. But there’s a good chance that it could be sold in Japan and other markets.

Flashback to the Honda Urban EV Concept

The e Prototype is an evolution of Honda’s Urban EV Concept that made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Sept. 2017 (we had our first look at the Tokyo Motor Show the following month.)

“This is not some version of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019” said Takahiro Hachigo (above), Honda Motor Co. President and CEO during his press conference speech at Frankfurt.

The two-door Urban EV concept offers room for four inside, with bench seats finished with cozy materials. Promoting the lounge look, the front row is upholstered with natural grey fabric, with seatbacks and armrests trimmed with wood accents.

Designs Inspired by the Honda N360 and N-ONE

On the outside, Honda’s new e Prototype, and the Urban EV, remind us of the original (gas engine) Honda N360 that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary (below left), as well as the current N-ONE mini-vehicle (Kei car) sold in Japan (below right).

The N360 is well-known as Honda’s first commercially successful mini passenger car (and the brand’s first car model line sold in America). The N-ONE is part of Honda’s popular gas-engine minicar lineup that includes the van-style N-BOX and other variants. Together Honda has sold more than 1 million N-Series vehicles in Japan.

With its compact size, the N-ONE is easy to park in tight spaces yet it’s remarkably roomy inside. Our editor is shown above next to a regular production series N-ONE during a visit to Kyoto, Japan.

For more product news visit Honda Global and select World Links

For more auto show information visit the Geneva International Motor Show website

News sources and photos (as marked) courtesy Honda Motor Company Ltd., and Honda Motor Europe Ltd.

Story (and photo of our editor) © 2019 CarNichiWa.com

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