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Honda Urban EV: cute wrapping for electric city car

  • Honda’s electric-only baby to debut in 2019
  • Concept car looks set to make it to the showroom
  • Pricing - and its name - under wraps for now

One of 2019’s most eagerly anticipated new cars is the production version of the adorable Honda Urban EV – an electrically powered city car that will slot beneath the Jazz size-wise.

Our colleagues over at sister title CAR Magazine have snapped the production version – which won’t carry the Urban EV name into the showroom – undergoing prototype testing.

Honda Urban EV prototype front

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

Honda Urban EV: loveable styling

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 Urban EV’s looks.

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

Although the production version’s stance doesn’t look quite as dramatic given that it appears to be a mite larger than the concept and that its wheels are smaller, it does appear to have the same pert silhouette, with abruptly cut-off front and rear styling.

Honda Urban EV concept side profile

Despite the camouflage, the nose and tail appear to have similar black-panel designs to the concept with LED lighting units inset within them – it’s not yet clear whether the concept’s message display in the dummy grille will reach production.

Honda Urban EV: practicality in production

Look carefully at the sides of the Urban EV prototype and you’ll spot a very clear departure from the concept: it’s now a five-, rather than three-door city car. Given the market’s lack of appetite for three-door cars, that makes sense, but a closer examination suggests that the handles for the back pair are hidden in the window frame, rather like those on the Renault Zoe.

Eagle-eyed readers will also note that it also appears to use rear-facing cameras instead of conventional door mirrors. We don’t expect these to be standard on the Urban EV, but we will be monitoring their impact on used-car values when they’re specced as an option.

Honda Urban EV: what else do we know?

Sadly, other details are scant at this stage – Honda understandably wants to make as big an impact as possible when the production Urban EV is revealed later in 2019.

What we do know is that it will be underpinned by a brand-new platform and that it will be a battery electric vehicle (BEV), in other words, a pure electric, with no convention engine to take over when the charge is low.

Honda Urban EV concept dashboard

Given that it’s a small car and therefore space for batteries will be at a premium in a hatchback that will have four seats, its range is unlikely to be enormous – a sensible guestimate is around 150 miles. On the plus side, this should mean it’ll not take as long to recharge as slightly larger rivals such as the Hyundai Kona Electric and Renault Zoe.

Depending upon the flow rate of the connection, an up to 80% recharge should be possible in under 30 minutes, according to Honda. As with rival BEVs, expect to be able to monitor and control the charging process on a smartphone app, as well as via Honda’s Power Manager Concept, which can also sell surplus electricity back to the grid.

No performance figures have yet been released either, but given the instantaneous deployment of pulling power from electric motors, it’ll doubtless be very sprightly around town.

How much will the Honda Urban EV cost?

No definitive news on this yet, but assuming Honda’s being sensible about it, entry-level versions of the Urban EV should retail at under £20,000 (once the government subsidy’s been deducted) in order for it to undercut the larger Renault Zoe.

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.

Bookmark this page to ensure you’re up-to-date with all the latest news and information about the Honda Urban EV

Honda Urban EV prototype rear