2020 Honda Urban EV Spied Testing: Still Looks Adorable

NOV 22 2018 BY ADRIAN PADEANU 45

Don’t you just want to hug it?

Honda basically stole the show last year in Frankfurt when it introduced the Urban EV, a pint-sized concept of a pure electric hatchback with retrolicious design cues. More than just a simple tease, the adorable zero-emissions commuter car will be going into production and some of you will be able to order the road-going version in a few parts of the world as early as the beginning of next year.

Our spies were in the right place at the right time to grab the first set of images with the Urban EV undergoing testing in right-hand-drive prototype guise. While it still looks cute as a button, some big changes have been implemented as the small electric hatch has gained a pair of rear doors. It looks like these have so-called “hidden” door handles mounted next to the C-pillar.

2020 Honda Urban EV spy photo

To make room for the rear doors, the front ones are now visibly narrower and open in a conventional way as opposed to the concept’s suicide doors. It looks like the flush door handles of the showcar are staying, but obviously moved to where you’d normally find them on a production model with standard doors.

Interestingly, the prototype has tiny side cameras instead of conventional mirrors – a feature we’ll be seeing more of in the years to come following the launch of the mirrorless Lexus ES in Japan. Needless to say, it will take a while before cameras will be legal all over the world, so chances are the Urban EV will initially come with traditional mirrors in most countries.

2020 Honda Urban EV spy photo

While the cutesy round headlights of the concept will have a correspondent on the production model, the showcar’s square taillights will be replaced by a round set to nicely mimic the front clusters. There are some cutouts in the camo on the tailgate, which might be there to make the reversing lights visible to traffic participants. At the front, there’s a bulge right in the middle of the petite hood. Like with the concept, it must be the panel that opens to provide access to the charging port.

2020 Honda Urban EV spy photo

We can’t quite see what’s inside the car, but from some angles, we can catch a glimpse of the dashboard. It looks like the concept’s giant display will trickle down to the production version, albeit there are probably some changes we cannot see right now because of the piece of fabric placed on top of the dash.

Honda has been coy on technical specifications, but the rumor mill is suggesting range will stand at roughly 155 miles (250 kilometers). We will have all the juicy details closer to the production model’s launch slated to take place in Europe towards the end of 2019.

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Photos: CarPix

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45 Comments on "2020 Honda Urban EV Spied Testing: Still Looks Adorable"

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Chris Hansen

Kawaii desu ne?

Clive

It’s hard to tell if it is cute or not.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

antrik

If it’s anything like the concept — and these shots suggest it is — I don’t find it the least bit “adorable” or “cute”; just old-fashioned in a bad way. All this fawning over it in the article is seriously annoying.

Seeing this thing actually gives credibility to the theory that legacy makers are making their compliance EVs weird/ugly on purpose to avoid undesired demand…

Andy

Unfortunately we seem to be in the minority. Most people seem to love it. I think the concept looked awful.

Domenick Yoney

そう です よ!

Clive

Can we get a translation?

Alen

Why the heck are the rims different in front and rare?!

Sammy

For testing purposes perhaps? Who knows and TBH, who really cares about that at this stage in its testing?
We can comments on the rims and a host of other things when it is announced. Until then everything is pure speculation.

Joel B

I suspect they aren’t the final rims, by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe they are swapping them in/out during testing?

Paul Smith

So you know which way it’s going.

antrik

Maybe it shod an aero-cap while going over a bump? 😉

eject

Testing a right hand drive car in Germany. Is this car a Honda build car or just plug and play from Bosch?

Dav8or

Who says this car was in Germany? The above article makes no such claim. I suspect it is actually in Japan.

BEVfan

Urban EV vs Mini Electric. Competition is great!

F150 Brian

Late 70’s Civics were a blast!
comment image

amt

It won’t be So Adorable When it Gets in a Bad Collision & Folds Like a Cheap Tent * . …….. 🙁 …*

G2

Why would you suggest any such thing?

amt

It’s Tiny, Doesn’t Appear to be a Very Solid or Safe Car… That ‘s All !

antrik

Crumple zones are a problem on smaller cars; rigidity is not. On the contrary: a smaller car has an easier job on that front.

Dima

If so, then how come far more compact Smart cars do extremely well in safety tests?

earl colby pottinger

Because he thinks like an ICE fan. There is no motor to go thru the firewall, instead there is a major crush zone in front. The batteries are probably in the skateboard design so low CG prevent most rollovers. The stiffness of the battery pack also helps to protect from other collisions.

And fun fact, unlike the movies if you run the car over the cliff the gas tank can not explode in mid-air since there is no gas tank.

m01

Erm, no. A low CG won‘t save an EV from being crushed from above by a heavy SUV. That said, it is indeed possible to build small and save vehicles. And yes, i am pretty sure a modern Honda EV will be a top safety pick.

F150 Brian

See the Renault Clio – amazing crash worthiness in a small car.

Quiviran

The solution is obvious. Ban battering rams.

amt

m01 , Thank You for Bringing that Out To The Light … *… 🙂 ,, *

Allan

Size has nothing to do with it, it’s more about weight, and in this regard the EV weight turns into a safety advantage, on top of the rigidity and addrd crumple zones that ICE cars, by nature of their design, lack.

Paul Smith
jim stack

I wonder if they will make more than the minimum number of 1,100 like they did with their Honda FIT EV?
I wonder if their battery will hold up better than their Hybrid batteries that are the worst in the industry?
Maybe they will be serious this time,if not they will be out of business.

Mister G

Wow you nailed it LOL

Diego

Don’t worry about that; Honda has no plans to sell this in the US.

EM

How do u know?

Diego

Sage Marie (Honda PR boss in the US) mentioned this

Lou Grinzo
Can we stop this “if company X doesn’t go all-in on EVs ASAP then they’re doomed! DOOOOOOMED!!!” stuff? I am as militantly pro-EV as anyone here, but even I have to admit that sales of new fossil fueled vehicles will be around for a long time. EVs will continue to make inroads, but they won’t push FFed vehicles into the dustbin of history for at least a couple of decades. So Honda or Ford or Toyota or any other foot dragger among the Legacies will not go out of business because they’re not doing as much as you and I and everyone else here wants. Who’s going to push them out of business? Other foot draggers? No. Tesla? No chance, as even they can’t scale up production that much that quickly. The biggest single thing protecting the Legacies right now is the limited production of EV-size battery packs. And as I keep saying here: I am convinced that all of the Legacies are doing EV R&D behind the scenes, and at least some of them have designs ready to go into production very quickly (by car industry standards). As soon as they feel a real threat from EVs and they… Read more »
antrik

All it takes is about twelve years of EV production increasing 41% a year, for combustion car sales to go to zero. Tesla *can* do that on their own, if others refuse to step in.

Sure, the legacy makers dragging their feet won’t go out of business in the next couple of years — but considering that development of new car model takes about five years, makers who don’t get into the game seriously over the next few years might be too late to move by the point combustion car sales will start tanking for good — quite likely putting the worst offenders at least out of business.

Andy
Theoretically, if adoption continued at the same rate (unlikely) then perhaps. Realistically if adoption did happen like that, and in 12 years all 80 million cars sold became BEV then Tesla would need to build around 150 factories in the next decade. Assuming they would announce the factories as they have the Chinese and European factories then that means realistically they have around 7 year to build 148 factories. They take three years to build (or a year or two to retrofit) so that means they would have to start around 3 years prior to 2030 (2027), so they would start building in 2021 and have to have started all the factories by 2027. That basically means they would have to lay down 25 Gigafactories a year in that time period. That’s ignoring the hundreds of billions it would cost to do, and the tens of billions Panasonic would have to invest for the batteries, and the fact Tesla would have to reduce the price of most of their vehicles by two thirds to sell to mainstream buyers… Yeah, not remotely possible… And even if we just said Europe and North America, that’s around 50 million vehicles and 15 factories… Read more »
Milfan

With Chinese automakers selling 120,000 plugins and getting ready to start their overseas onslaught, Honda has no other way but to launch this cute EV. Still Honda will not sell it in USA which is considered a land of gas guzzlers.

I still hope Tesla will launch a similar sized 4 seater vehicle with a 30K price range and 200 mile + range.
At least Honda made it with conventional 5 doors rather than some weird design.

antrik

The photos, and description in the article, do not actually suggest the rear doors are “conventional”?…

Will

Compare to 16M cars and SUVs sold in the North American market

DS

Do those door handles bother anyone else?

Looks like it’s lost some stance from the concept. This is a shame.

Mike

With some Tesla-level EV efficiency you could probably get 200+ mile range on a 40-45 kWh battery pack. That would be pretty appealing car. Another 100-120 mile range econo-box isn’t going to do much to stand out from a crowd.

Bojan

The glass “grille” and the hidden rear door handles remind me of the 8th gen European Honda Civic. I really like that design, I wish Honda would bring it back in EV form.

Will

Ugly eV styling

Ottoix

This car is registered and driven in Germany. How can you all be so shure that it’s a Honda?

Morten Tefre

Ja, es ist doch ein Gefühlschaftwagen. 🤪

insightman

I love our Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybird, but it’s proving to be the gateway drug leading to me wanting an EV. I want this EV.

I’ve written more than one letter to Honda, begging them to bring this car to the US (yes, even this 4-door version). I was amazed and thrilled to receive a reply to one of them! It said that even though this car may not come to the US, Honda will definitely be selling electric vehicles in the US. I hope that doesn’t mean an HR-V EV. If I’m forced into a larger EV, I may break my 32-year Honda-only streak and get the VW ID-Buzz (ie, Bus), unless VW’s production-car doctors ruin that concept.

It’s too bad the market required the rear doors to be added. Those doors took away the nice swoop of the Urban EV Concept’s C-pillar (it was reminiscent of the original Civic). The Concept’s squarish tail lights were nicer, too. I hope that the brilliant designer of the Urban EV Concept, Yuki Terai, hasn’t had to submit to grief counseling after seeing what the production-car doctors did to his baby.