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Honda e: name announced for new electric city car

  • Honda confirms the name of its electric city car
  • All-new platform, 124-mile range and rear-wheel drive
  • Pricing is still under wraps for now

First shown as the Urban EV concept in 2017, then as the e Protoype earlier in 2019, the name of the production version for 2020 has finally been announced: Honda e.

Shown below is the e Prototype, which is said to represent 98% of what you can expect from the showroom spec Honda e.

Honda e Prototype side-on

The concept car’s retro design will be carried over to the production version largely unchanged, with the addition of two extra doors being the biggest departure. Built on a dedicated platform, the Honda e will also feature a rear-wheel drive configuration, charging ports in the bonnet and an all-electric range of up to 124 miles. 

Honda e: lovable styling is carried over from the concept

The good news is that many of the concept’s visual delights, that made the Urban EV the star of the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, will be present and correct on the version you’ll be able to buy. 

Honda’s been building cars long enough now to have curated a back catalogue of distinctive models, and it’s one of these – the Honda N – which has inspired the e’s looks.

Honda e Prototype rear light clusters

The key word here is ‘inspired’, because the Honda e will be unashamedly modern, not a retro-pastiche in the manner of the Fiat 500.

Although the production version’s stance isn’t quite as dramatic – given that it’s a tad curvier, taller and with smaller wheels (16-inch standard, 17-inch optional), it does have broadly the same silhouette that was so well received on the original concept. 

Honda e: focus on technology

This may only be a city car, but Honda hasn’t held back with the amount of tech laden upon the e. Sitting in place of regular door mirrors is a camera monitoring system that displays images of what’s behind the vehicle on monitors located around the forward pillars. According to Honda, the system not only improves usability but also reduces overall wind resistance, thus helping to improve efficiency – as do the door handles that sit flush to the bodywork of the car – just like on the Range Rover Evoque.

Honda e Prototype virtual wing mirrors

Complementing the camera monitoring system is a display replacing the rear-view mirror, while a large infotainment screen and digital dashboard dominate the rest of the cabin. This is effectively split into three screens, with the digital dash in front of the driver, and the two main screens placed in the middle and in front of the passenger. 

Using an all-new media system (that could make its way onto other Hondas), passengers can carry out tasks such as setting the sat-nav on their screen, then swipe the information over to the driver’s side. It looks to be a reasonably intuitive system, and a big improvement over what we’ve seen in previous Hondas.

Honda e Prototype interior

Other interior highlights include a plastic film that does a convincing job of mimicking wood on the dashboard, and a clear space in the floor between the driver and passenger’s feet, thanks to the absence of a transmission tunnel.

Honda e: 124-mile range and quick charging

The Honda e promises a WLTP range of at least 124 miles, although Parkers understands that this could be increased by the time the car launches in the UK. The Panasonic batteries stowed under the floor can be topped up to 80% capacity in 30 minutes using a rapid charger.

Honda e Prototype charging points in bonnet

Placing the charging port in the bonnet (instead of on the side) also means that the e doesn’t have to be manufactured differently depending on left- and right-hand drive markets.

Honda e: just enough room for four passengers

The e benefits from an airy, uncluttered cabin in the front, with the absence of a transmission tunnel giving ample legroom to both passengers. It’s a slightly different story in the back, however, where the four-seat Honda feels far tighter on space.

Honda e rear badge

You should be able to get two adults in, but how comfortable they’ll be remains to be seen. For example, space under the seats (where the passengers’ feet would usually go) is restricted, and limits how far those in the back can extend their legs.

How much will the Honda e cost?

No definitive news on this yet, but we do understand that pricing will be at the premium end of the scale with upwards of £20,000 likely. Would-be buyers can already register their interest on Honda’s website ahead of the production car’s unveiling later in 2019 – customer deliveries begin in 2020.

Honda e Prototype rear three-quarter

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