Retro Is Your Future: Honda Confirms Production of an EV That's Hard Not to Love

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
retro is your future honda confirms production of an ev that s hard not to love

Electric vehicles. Yawn, right? It’s easy to be cynical about the high-flying production promises tossed about by practically every automaker, but if the real-life version of Honda’s Urban EV Concept looks half as quirky as the show car, the big H might have a bonafide green hit on its hands.

As the Geneva Motor Show opens to journalists, Honda has announced a production version of the retro-styled hatchback. It turns out CEO Takahiro Hachigo wasn’t lying when he said the Urban EV wasn’t just auto show eye candy.

Debuting at last September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the Urban EV Concept blends styling cues ripped from Honda’s past — namely, the first-generation Civic — with concept car trappings we wouldn’t expect of a production vehicle (suicide doors, General Electric turbofans in place of wheels). Surely, driver and passenger won’t be playing footsies after this thing hits dealers.

While Honda didn’t — and still hasn’t — provided a range figure, the bug-eyed four-seater’s name alone implies a constrained, around-town lifestyle.

Judging by the public’s response to the gas-free runabout, we could be looking at the first aspirational EV that isn’t a Tesla. Surely, prices will take into account the intended buyer’s not-unlimited means.

“A production version of this highly acclaimed concept will be introduced to Europe during late 2019, and in response to the positive feedback to this model, we expect to open order banks for the Urban EV during early 2019,” said Philip Ross, Honda Motor Europe’s senior vice president, in a statement.

The key word here is “Europe.” Honda remains tight-lipped on the possibility of an American launch. While the automaker bills the Urban EV as the “first mass-produced battery electric vehicle” for the European market, the U.S. already has the Honda Clarity sedan. Well, sort of. That five-seater is available only in California and Oregon, as a lease-only proposition.

It will be interesting to see how the production version of this model strays from the concept when it appears next year. Want to take bets on four doors, bulky A-pillars, and longer overhangs?

[Images: Honda]

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2 of 29 comments
  • Ajla Ajla on Mar 06, 2018

    Honda and VW fans throwing shade at each other needs to be a weekly occurrence.

  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Mar 07, 2018

    I was taken aback by that Quartic wheel! Are they STILL peddling that as a space saver? Suicide doors on a two door, really? Gonna need a beefy B pillar to hang it on. Not enamored of that slab of butter look and it makes me wonder where they will find panel rigidity if they can't crease them, extra filleting within just adds weight which is an EV's enemy.

  • Dartman It was all a scam just to gin up some free publicity. It worked. Tassos go back to sleep; no ones on your lawn. Real ‘murricans prefer hot dogs to gyros.
  • ToolGuy I plan to install a sink in the crawl space soon. After that I plan to put washer and dryer hookups on my roof.
  • ToolGuy "That power team adds an electric supercharger"YES!
  • Cardave5150 UAW is acting all butt-hurt that their employers didn't "share the wealth" when they had massive profits. They conveniently forget that they have a CONTRACT with their employers, which was negotiated in good faith, and which the Remaining 3 are honoring, paying them exactly what they negotiated last time.
  • Kwik_Shift That's a shame.