Honda e Prototype Previews RWD Electric City Car For Europe

The wait for Honda’s first electric vehicle for Europe is almost over as the automaker is gearing up to reveal a near-production concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

The carmaker has just released the first exterior shots of the study that’s called e Prototype and the good news is it sticks pretty close to the Urban EV Concept from 2017. However, it’s not quite as dramatic looking as said study. Honda says the e Prototype evolves from the Urban EV, and a closer look reveals some key differences.

For example, it features rear doors with “hidden” handles and smaller, front-hinged doors at the front. As a result, the overall proportions of the car lean towards a more practical approach rather than a sporty one. Another big change concerns the rear end, where the study’s squared taillights have given way to round units that echo the design of the headlights.

While looking all cute and friendly, the Honda e Prototype is tech-savvy at the same time. It features “pop out” door handles and compact cameras replacing the traditional side mirrors — both features are unique for a vehicle in this segment.

If you were wondering what’s that black thing on the bonnet, it’s the charging port. Honda has chosen to place it in that position so that it could be easily accessible from either side of the car. The port comes with LED lighting visible through the glass cover to welcome the driver and inform of the battery charging status.

Speaking of black panels, the concave ones between the front and rear lights are clear hints to the Urban EV concept. Unfortunately, they do not display information as on said study and only serve a styling purpose.

More than 200 km (124 miles) of range and a “powerful” electric motor driving the rear wheels

The neo-retro vibe continues inside the cabin which adopts a minimalist approach made possible by the customizable dual screen horizontal display that integrates most of the car’s functions. The screens for the Camera Mirror System are integrated at either end of the dashboard, and even the central rear view mirror has been replaced by a camera.

Honda says the interior is spacious thanks in part to a walk-through flat floor in the front and rear of the cabin. We’re told the cabin also has “a comfortable lounge-like feel,” using melange-style sofa fabric and other tactile materials often found in contemporary homes.

Honda didn’t release the car’s dimensions but says e Prototype’s “relatively long wheelbase, wide track, and short overhangs facilitate exceptional urban maneuverability and dynamic driving characteristics.”

You’ll be glad to know that under the cute bodywork sits an EV-specific platform with a rear-wheel-drive layout. It features “a powerful electric motor driven through rear wheels for next-generation small-car performance” and a “fun and emotive experience.”

No exact specs were released other than the driving range of over 200 km (124 miles) and a fast charge functionality of 80 percent battery charge in 30 minutes. Honda also says the bespoke EV platform delivers “a blend of efficiency, performance, and usability that is perfect for urban environments.”

The Honda e Prototype will enter production later this year.

 

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  • Richard Taylor

    Interesting! Kept much of it’s charm in the transition from concept to 98%. Curious what will be affected by that last 2% – door handles and the dashboard? Interior looks pretty much finished but it’s hard to picture a final product with that huge display (but I can hope).

  • Finkployd

    Really stunning inside and out but « over 200km » range is a bit disappointing

    • Miknik

      I guess this is a compromise between “large battery making it too expensive” and “200 km should be sufficient in urban driving”; It’s probably too small for a proper roadtrip anyway…

      • Finkployd

        Certainly but leaf/zoe/i3 already do much better than that

        • Miknik

          If it is real life 200 kms (and I hope it is), I’m not sure that those do it much better.

  • MarketAndChurch

    I hope this spurs interest across the industry to try out a modern-retro design direction. Nissan has shown interest. So has PSA. Looks fantastic, would be cooler as a 2-dr though, especially if the rear is going to be cramped anyways.

  • Jureck

    The range is a litte bit a let down. 200km, in real life probably more like 150-170km. Everything over 250km of real range would have been nice.

  • Gullet

    It’s ok and all, but I was hoping for a design more true to the concept. The boxy Peugeot 205 design that I liked is gone.

  • Tinky-Winky

    Nah, the first concept was awesome, this looks just awkward. Suddenly I’m not really interested in this car, Peugeot e208 is much cooler. Better range as well.

  • It’s just so adorable! 🙂

  • EM1

    Question: Why is this not coming to the US?

    I hope the more sportier 2 door variant comes here as a compromise. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6cb85284d361a086b0a7b98de979ae1b2ae72a0f3d204bbf5c8a6d3b395e3d65.jpg

    • Leconte Dave

      Too small i guess

  • Brian Regan

    Not as nice as the concept but I still like it. It’s a shame there’s no US version.

  • liams92

    Would look great in nardo-esque grey. Curious to know what’s under the bonnet if its rear wheel drive and if it even opens.

  • Enter Ranting

    Honda is gonna sell a billion of these.

  • Ilbirs

    Now we see Honda joining that EV convergence premiered by Tesla: flat battery under the floor and allowing this floor to be fully flat and, in case of just one motor, this one being placed on the rear and the set battery-motor allowing a very low cargo platform. This Tesla’s convergence was used almost entirely by Jaguar-Land Rover in the I-Pace and will also be used by Honda on the MEB platform.
    What catches the attention is the fact that we’re seeing a small car that fits on a dimensional set that Japanese people call the “Class 3”, meaning here that we can consider this a form of freeing room for this kind of model.

  • Paul

    I think it would do quite well.

  • NICE CLEAN DESIGN, NO SILL AFFECTATIONS.

  • SteersUright

    Very cute, good looking urban runabout. However, looks as of the rear seat area will be very tight and flush with the rear window/bumper. I’d hate to be back there if it every got rear-ended.

  • KareKakk

    Honda Lupo… at least use those white multispoke rims from the earlier prototype!

  • Tumbi Mtika

    I actually think it looks better than the concept, which takes doing.

    I want to rip one of these around!

  • Dennis Scipio

    Where’s the rear door handle located? and that seeering wheel looks ugly.

    • Eythan Aldrich

      *steering wheel come on man, fix your damn autocorrect or something

      • Dennis Scipio

        I typed it on a keyboard. I was typing fast, sorry not sorry.

  • Yishay

    Lovely

  • Although I think the concept is more appealing, I think this is still a good design. If Honda can get it with affordable price, I think we have some serious contender here.

  • jfalckt

    Although it’s great to see this Honda green-lighted for production, the transition from the Urban EV concept to this has taken away the very magic that made it so unique this day and age.

    It’s a bit too upright and dumpy now. And why did they not retain the sliced off top of the circular headlamps? The first concept worked so well because it was small but not overly cute, this one is just a step away from a regular compact/supermini.

    On the plus side, the interior looks fantastic and svelte, and although I’m disappointed by the toning down of the exterior, it does show Honda getting back to a simplistic and crisp approach with their design language so hopefully this will extend to the rest of the range.

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