Honda Pulls Back the Veil on a Less-retro Urban EV

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
honda pulls back the veil on a less retro urban ev

We’ve gone from concept vehicle to prototype, but Honda’s upcoming Urban EV — a pint-sized commuter that’s arguably the first mainstream electric to garner legitimate youth enthusiasm — is no closer to coming to North America. It’s also less retro than its show car predecessor, but no one expected that trillion-inch flatscreen to make it to production.

Oh, you’ll still have screens galore, though.

Honda released an image of the Urban EV prototype’s interior Wednesday, ahead of the vehicle’s March debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The image show a sparse, flat dash with three separate screens spanning the space between driver to passenger, underscored by a piece of wood(grain?) trim.

First appearing in 2017, the Urban EV stirred the collective imagination and passions of a different type of eco car enthusiast: the young, less affluent one. The show car’s retro appeal conjured up memories of small, affordable, fun-to-toss-around hatchbacks offered in decades past, while its green mission alleviated any guilt felt by the ecologically sensitive.

Well, the two-door concept has since morphed into a more conventional (and marketable) four-door hatch, as Honda wants people to actually buy this, rather than admire it from afar. The hood calls to mind a Fiat 500, and spy photos of a pre-production tester reveals a side profile that apes Volkswagen’s Euro-market T-Roc. Japan gets the Urban EV in 2020, with European customers seeing theirs late this year.

As this model’s mission is getting buyers to and from work, range appears limited to 150 miles or less. The vehicle’s footprint (roughly four inches shorter than a Fit) and anticipated price point limit battery size. That’s okay, though, as European and Japanese commuters aren’t used to wide-open spaces.

Honda’s aiming for electrified vehicles to account for two-thirds of its European sales by 2025, with the Urban EV serving to attract mainstream greenies to the brand. As stated before, a North American launch seems very unlikely. Honda hasn’t breathed a word about a trans-Pacific trip.

[Images: Honda]

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3 of 16 comments
  • Luke42 Luke42 on Feb 14, 2019

    Tesla won't be losing any sales over this! That said, the more electric options, the better. We currently own a 2016 Honda Civic, and the only thing I don't love about it is that it burns gasoline. The current plan is to replace it with a Tesla Model 3, but an electric version of the car we already have would be a serious contender for the next car upgrade.

  • Charliej Charliej on Feb 14, 2019

    I would love to own an electric car but I never will. The reason is that I am in my mid seventies and likely already own the last car that I will ever own. I have a 2003 Ford Escape with not a lot of miles. I only drive about a hundred miles a month since I do most of my running around on a motor scooter. At about twelve hundred miles a year the Escape will have less than eighty thousand miles by the time I croak. So no electric car for me.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Feb 15, 2019

      Perhaps a used one someday? If my mom (who is 80) ever needs to replace her 02 Altima, I'm recommending a cheap used EV. She drives the same miles as you do. With less maintenance than regular cars, ownership is a dream.

  • StormEagle 400 miles range
  • Inside Looking Out Enforcing laws? It is so yesterday! Welcome to California!
  • Lou_BC You'd think cops would have an understanding of the laws they are supposed to enforce.
  • Merlyn I’m on my second Spark and love it! I can pass any car I’ve never had a problem going up a hill it does just fine. As for cargo I can fit three suitcases, two book bags and still have the front seat for a passenger. Not sure what point this guy is trying to make. I have hand free phone service and Sirius radio plug in my phone and have navigation. I would buy another spark in a heartbeat.
  • Buickman I won't own one and I'll be happy!