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Honda Urban EV Concept: The Best or the Coolest EV?

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 9/12/2017 JOE LORIO

Honda Urban EV concept Honda Urban EV Concept: The Best or the Coolest EV? - Official Photos and Info Honda’s cute, pugnacious Urban EV concept brings a bit of Tokyo funk to Germany’s Frankfurt auto show, where it had its debut. Unlike some Japanese flights of fancy, however, this concept “sets the direction for the technology and design that will appear on a future battery electric Honda production model.” Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo added that a “production version of this car will be in Europe in 2019.” (No word yet on whether it’s coming to America.)

Related Video: Ultra-compact Honda Urban EV will hit the road in 2019 (provided by Roadshow)

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Built on a new platform, the pint-sized two-door EV is some four inches shorter than a Honda Fit. Borrowing from the far opposite end of the automotive spectrum, the concept uses rear-hinged doors, à la Rolls-Royce. This four-seater is unusual in that it has a bench seat in front; in addition, the front and rear seats are upholstered in different fabrics. The rear seatbelts pull out from the center, which is supposed to aid entry and exit. The interior is embellished with wood trim including a large panel spanning the dash, which gets an ultra-wide, floating instrument screen. There also are screens on the upper door panels—they display feeds from the side-view cameras.

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Outside, the space between the headlights where the grille normally would be is a screen that is able to display messages to other drivers or the status of battery charge; the rear end has the same feature. The blue backlit Honda badge is a design cue that will be used on the company’s EVs going forward.

Honda Urban EV Concept: The Best or the Coolest EV?© JOE LORIO Honda Urban EV Concept: The Best or the Coolest EV?

The Urban EV earns extra Japanese-concept-car points by incorporating a personal digital assistant called Honda Automated Network Assistant that “learns from the driver by detecting emotions behind their judgements.” That sounds dubious, but we love the design of this EV, which despite its diminutive dimensions manages to avoid looking toy-like. We hope more than just the light-up badge survives the transition to production, and that it gets a chance to roam American streets.

Related Link: See more news from the Frankfurt Motor Show

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