Honda has revealed the first pictures of the near-production-spec electric supermini that emerged from the Urban EV concept of 2017.
The firm has kept what’s now known as the ‘e Prototype’ reasonably faithful to the Urban EV while managing to change its overall look completely. It has had to round the nose off a little for pedestrian safety, the wheels are smaller and there aren’t so many 1990s-style sharp corners in the roof line.
That means the angular, aggressive and achingly cool Urban EV has transitioned into a bubblier, friendlier and altogether cuter animal. Whether the switch is the right one is personal opinion, but this version should have greater market appeal in the vein of the Fiat 500 and Mini.
It’s short, with a long wheelbase and wide stance for an entertaining, go-kart feel through the city. Our experience with other EVs at city-appropriate speeds suggests the e Prototype should feel like a happy little chap around town.
Neat standard features (on this prototype) include a panoramic up-and-over windscreen that lets in more light. It’s fixed to A-pillars that sit almost flush with the screen for reduced wind noise.
The door handles sit flush as well, popping out like on some Range Rovers. Let’s see how they work when the car freezes over in winter. Intriguingly the side mirrors have been replaced with cameras that feed to interior screens at the outer edges of the dashboard. The rear-view ‘mirror’ is also a camera that feeds to a central screen.
You charge the e Prototype by lifting the black panel on its nose. Driving range should be ‘over 125 miles’, says Honda, with fast-charging technology that’s good for an 80 per cent refill in 30 minutes.
Inside, there’s a flat floor throughout, increasing the sense of space and legroom. Honda has gone for a ‘contemporary home’ vibe for the upholstery and trim materials. In all seriousness that could mean ‘inspired by Ikea,’ so we’re looking forward to seeing the real thing.