Honda E Prototype Revealed: Production-Bound Small, Sporty EV

FEB 27 2019 BY BRADLEY BERMAN 48

The Honda E Prototype is a small, sporty EV with about 125 miles of range. A future version is expected to go into production later this year.

At the Geneva Motor Show two years ago, Honda announced its “Electric Vision” plan for Europe. (Not the U.S.) The plan sets a target of 2025 for two-thirds of sales in Europe to be hybrid, EV, or fuel cell.

To demonstrate its progress on pure EVs, Honda next Tuesday will return to the Geneva Motor Show to unveil the Honda E Prototype. The company plans to enter production of the Honda E Prototype, or some variant, before the end of 2019. The Honda E Prototype is the next iteration of the 2017 Urban EV Concept – an ultra-cute, city runabout with a wide track, short overhangs, and suicide doors. The Urban EV is four inches shorter than a Honda Fit.

As we outlined in our history of Honda EVs, the Japanese automaker has unveiled a long line of EV concepts for decades. But actual production has been limited. Honda sold a few hundred EV Pluses in the late 1990s and about a thousand Fit EVs from 2012 to 2014. It currently sells the 89-mile Clarity Electric in small numbers.

While the Honda E Prototype could be just another concept to add to the list, there are signs that Honda is serious about putting a compelling new EV on European roads.

Honda E Prototype

First, Honda has long held the stance that small, relatively short-range EVs are well suited to Europe. Way back in 2011, Takanobu Ito, Honda’s president, told me, “For Japan, Europe, and other parts of Asia, especially the urban areas, we think the smaller category would be an option. In this category, pure EVs would be appropriate.”

Fair enough. We don’t favor small cars in the U.S., but they remain popular in Europe and Asia.

And here’s another sign that the Japanese automaker is serious about a real EV based on the Honda E Prototype: The car will be built on a new, dedicated platform. Moreover, the platform uses a rear-wheel-drive system, suggesting an element of sportiness.

Think of it as quick, fun, and funky commuter car – in the spirit of the BMW i3. The range is announced as 200 kilometers (or about 125 miles.) The Honda E Prototype is a five-door hatch.

Interior of Honda E Prototype

It’s hard to know if the Honda E Prototype’s more futuristic elements are typical concept-car razzle-dazzle or real features. The list of cool items includes pop-out door handles, camera-based side mirrors, a see-through front fascia to show charging status, and a lounge-like cabin with a suite of monitors that extends nearly the entire length of the dashboard.

We will be at the Geneva Motor Show to report on details following the unveiling on March 5. And we’ll ask what the new model could mean for potential Honda EVs in the United States.

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48 Comments on "Honda E Prototype Revealed: Production-Bound Small, Sporty EV"

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200 km range is not sufficient for Europe. Any new small EV here on Europe has 300km (200 mile) range

How about the 40 kWh versions of the Leaf and the Kona? I don’t think they get more than 220-ish km of range in real life.

Unless it’s really cold, I’m getting about 220-250km worth of range out of my 33kWh i3s. So I don’t think your point is valid.

Any EV is better than an ICE car but the I3s is not exactly burning up the sales chart in the USA. Coming from the company that makes the Honda Civic, this is a disappointing compliance car. This is a gen 1 product competing against cars that were released 3-5 years ago.

I would disagree with that. I believe there is definitely a market for small cars with ~30-40kWh battery packs, now and in the future. Less so in the US, agreed, but Europe and Asia have very dense cities, and 200km is plenty of range, can easily last you a week or more. Battery cost is always going to be an issue, especially for small cars, so I really don’t see a market, even 20 years from now, where we end up with small city cars with enormous 80-100kWh batteries. I may be wrong, but time will tell.

Pricing will be the critical component, I think; the Peugeot e-208 will be in the same size class with 340 km WLTP range, and VW is also targeting 300 km+ for the base ID hatchback. I think most people will opt for more range at the same price, so Honda better have a plan to undercut them.

Build it and they will buy

Exactly this, and in addition to advances in battery tech, the maturing of the charging network will make a 200km range work for 90% of European consumers. Also, that is a GREAT looking concept and I hope the production version stays true to it.

That’s not true. There’s no EV of this size with these specifications.

Nthing this. 200km is 30kwh Leaf territory. Look at the 208e coming this year; small and with 300km+.

208(e) is longer, has more space for the battery. Same for Zoe. Leaf is a category larger.

I don’t drive more than 50 kilometers a day.

Most of people in Europe do that. No much people drive more 200 km a day, we live in little countries with short distances. Everyting is near. Is an urban car, so it’s adecuate. In my opinion, other little cars like 208 or Zoe sould offer a cheaper version with less battery. For many people could be enough range and will save money.

I think the Urban is a bit different than a Zoe or recently presented 208 electric cars that are polivalent cars, able even for little families with enough space and boot. This Honda I think is mainly an urban car, so the range for this Honda is right and doesn’t make the car more expensive than needed.

“The Honda E Prototype is a small, sporty EV with about 125 miles of range.”

What does that say about it’s price in Europe?

About €20,000.-?

That would be cheaper than the Smart ED.

The SMART isn’t.

Try €10k – €20k more. Goal is not a mass market car.

Yep, is a image product, a chic car. Not a car for masses like Zoe or 208.

“The Honda E Prototype has two doors but a small Honda EV was spotted in testing in late 2018 as a four-door model.”

I’m not sure which photos you are looking at but the ones I see in this article clearly show four doors with the rear door handles up in the black area next to the C pillar.

People generally prefer the look of a two door but the convenience of a four. Which is what I think that Honda is aiming for with the design of this car.

Exactly, i3 is actually the same way. People call it a 4 door, but that is misleading. It is a 2 door with easier access to rear. This Honda E looks the same way. I really like this, too bad they won’t sell in US, maybe they will bring the lower sports car here, but my fear is I won’t fit in that (this looks nice and tall).

Mmm No Thanks. The current Renault Zoe is already better.

The Zoe is a larger car in a different class.

With the right price, this car could be a hit.
200 km for a city car is more than enough.
The next Smart ForTwo and the VW E-Up are in for some serious competition.
Seems much smaller than the i3 though.

This is definately a Japan-Europe type of car. It’ll do well in parts of California but defintely not a car that will appeal to rest of US.

It’s described as “4 inches shorter than a Honda Fit”, which is 161 inches long – that would make it the exact same length as the i3, and considerably larger than the others you mentioned, though it may be shorter than the i3.

Shorter in height, is what I meant.

Current Zoe has 186 Miles of range (300Km), this Honda would have to be cheaper than £24k for a R110 40Kwh Zoe. Love mine!

Honda is counting on good looks and high-tech features–not superior EV range–to sell this limited-production BEV at a higher price point than the Zoe or Leaf. I’d pay $35K — $38K in a second to own this work of automotive art. It doesn’t have the $40K Model 3’s range and probably not its acceleration, but it’s got style that makes the Model 3 look ordinary in comparison (not to mention the dashboards).

If this is Honda’s new global BEV platform, then the company should bring a few of them over here to serve as Honda’s eco-aspirational halo car (ie, expensive/profitable and exclusive)–this continent is part of the globe, after all!

Now excuse me, I have just written 3 more letters to American Honda Motor Co., Inc. that I have to get into today’s mail. Please do the same if you want to see the Honda e tooling around on this side of the Atlantic.

Rasmus Birkegaard Christensen

Ac 230v outlet in the dashboard and hdmi connection 👍🏼 that’s cool.

now this is something unique to the car community, suv, suv , suv and more suv …. later that yr wow how cute and nimble. take my money

Fail

This kind of thing is what Europe is crying out for in an EV. It needs more range, but other than that it’s just what Europe wants to buy.

Is this a “car for everyone”? Of course not. There is no such thing. That’s why any Tesla or Nissan or Ford or whatever car isn’t “The One True Car”.

We need a broad range of EVs, meaning configurations — sedans, wagons, SUVs, small vans, etc. — ranges, trim levels, and, of course, prices, to appeal to as many mainstream consumers as possible. Selling to mainstreamers is much more difficult than is selling to the enthusiasts/early adopters like the people who hang out on sites like this one. Inevitably, appealing to the mainstreamers means companies will do things we don’t like. Again, the echoes of the early days of the PC in what we’re seeing now with EVs are unmistakable.

Would be perfect as a.second car for families that need it. For that, range is not important.
I.e. the school for our kids has really bad public transportation connection. So far my wife was taking and bringing them every day (while I was enjoying my motorbike /bicycle). We are considering a second small car and would love to buy a cheap electric, which can fit 2 kids

regards these two statements;
First, Honda has long held the stance that small, relatively short-range EVs are well suited to Europe. Way back in 2011, Takanobu Ito, Honda’s president, told me, “For Japan, Europe, and other parts of Asia, especially the urban areas, we think the smaller category would be an option. In this category, pure EVs would be appropriate.”

Fair enough. We don’t favor small cars in the U.S., but they remain popular in Europe and Asia. ”

You are mixing up two things.
Small cars in Europe? Y yes, to an extent.
Small batteries? No. Not at all.

125 miles is wholly inadequate for a fast sporty carand the sales figures on newer cars coming out with 64kWh batteries shwo this, sold out, one year waiting list. NO such wait for even teh 40kwh leaf, teh Zoe (you can get oen tomorrow), and vW are replaving the Golf with a 2x raneg car. They wouldnt eb doing that if they thoght 125 miels was all Europe needed.

Major misfire by Honda. Is it even Machiavellian ‘look we produced a pure EV and no one wanted it, our customers obviously want ICE ” ?

. Hopefully that’s not the final look of the car. I liked the two door concept version shown early on. The photo above looks like a fiat.

Love the looks. Interesting that the dash layout is reminiscent of my first generation Civic. If this is half the car that Civic was in it’s time, it will be a huge hit. More EVs=good!

IKR! Nowadays evs have more range then that. Also I wish Honda will start to focus on making evs in North America!

Absolutely brilliant design, this would do well in the US as a second/third car for urban/suburban families/commutes. This is now fully on my radar as my first potential EV purchase, hopefully they bring it to the States with a bit more range. Wow, the design.

Honda has never sold an EV. Every single EV they have made is “sold” on a close ended lease, including the Honda EV Plus, Honda Fit EV, and Honda Clarity EV. All are close ended leases where they they take the car back at the end, no exceptions.

If the BMW I3 wasn’t so weird looking, it would have sold more. The US still likes small cars provided that they have practical interiors, enough power, good EPA figures and safety. Pehaps with more range, this tiny EV would do well in America. I would like the sporty coupe that was orginally featued with this concept a few years ago.

OMG that interior! Somehow it looks even better than in the 2007 concept, and appears to be very close to production – real switchgear and all. It looks so cozy! I’m sad the US won’t be getting one.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. I think the Interior is very well designed. It’s strikingly beautiful. I’m wondering if someone from IKEA helped out with this?

This car should take the auto market by storm ..Ideal solution for urban transportation.

A $50k electric Acura sedan or SUV with 250 mile range would be a compelling offering. Unless a well-equipped Honda e can be had for under $25k, it will be laughed 125 miles out of town.

Of course it won’t be available to the U.S. market. If it’s small and cool, we will not see it.