Honda first revealed the Urban EV concept in 2017. The company then followed this model on with a more finished model in the Honda e Prototype, which made its debut at Geneva Motor Show earlier in 2019.
Honda e Prototype design
- Minimalist design
- Front, central charging port
- Approachable but sporty look
The Honda e Prototype is inspired by the original Honda Civic and it is a fabulous looking compact car. The modern-retro styling and sporty stance give the Honda e Prototype a distinctive look that is sure to stand out from the busy city streets and for all the right reasons.
Minimalism is a key theme in the Honda e Prototype's design, though there is a lot more than initially meets the eye. On the surface, serious attention to detail is present throughout the design but there's plenty beneath the surface of the Honda e Prototype too.
The charging port is hidden below a section on the front and centre of the bonnet and it pops open with a tap of the button on the key. In between the headlights where the rounded front of the car curves inwards, there is another section with sensors for the driver assistance systems, like adaptive cruise control.
These sensors sit below the back-lit Honda badge, which will be a standard Honda badge when the e Prototype launches and not back lit. It's one of the small design features that make up the 2 per cent of changes before production sadly. The amazing matte finish paint the e Prototype offers will also change for the final model.
Circular symmetrical LED headlights sit within a polished black surround, giving this car its cute but sporty look with a happy face, and a similar design is followed through on the rear.
At the side, very small cylinders with a camera lens at the end take the place of traditional wing mirrors, offering a talking point on their own, while the pop out handles on the front doors deliver a smooth and streamlined look. The rear door handles sit flush too, blending into the design, while the roof offers a lovely curve and the alloys finish the serious and sporty side to the look off.
Not everyone might like the cute-meets-sporty design the Honda e Prototype offers but we absolutely love it. The rounded corners and curves that are present all over the Honda e Prototype give it a soft and friendly design, while the more angular lines along the sides and above the wheel arches finish it off beautifully.
Honda e Prototype interior and technology
- Clever storage and charging
- Wood detailing
- Full-width dashboard display
- Wing mirrors and rear view all video
As with the exterior, the interior of the Honda e Prototype is minimalist in its design, offering clean lines with retro detailing. It is more angular than the curvier exterior, but the overall finish is excellent with plenty of clever storage, charging ports and some lovely design details.
There are square storage boxes in between the front and rear seats in the middle, and driver control buttons for Park, Drive and Reverse are present a little further forward in between the driver seat and the passenger seat. The buttons sit flush to the wood panel surround and there's no gear stick to ruin the smooth lines.
At the front of this section is a leather loop, which we assume to be a drink holder. The floor of the e Prototype is completely flat so the loop should be enough to hold a drink and it looks so much better than a standard plastic cup holder with a bottom.
The wood panel detailing continues below the full-width digital dashboard, and the overall finish is really striking. The interior designer from Honda told us he wanted the interior to offer a cosy feeling and to replicate a living room and it certainly does that.
We asked the e Prototype designers if the wood might be customisable in future models and we were told special edition models were being considered, but no further details were offered on when they might appear after the standard model.
Buttons are pretty much all flush to the surface they sit on, bar a couple of exceptions, delivering the same seamless design we saw on the exterior with the flush pop out handles.
It's the fabulous infotainment system that is the star of the Honda e Prototype's interior though. The digital dashboard stretches across then entire width of the car, with three screens along with the two video feeds from the wing mirror cameras at either end.
The dashboard will deliver smartphone connectivity, as you would expect, along with voice-operated systems and information about your journey and driving style will all available. The passenger will also be able to 'flick' their display across to the driver's display, which we see being very useful for navigation.
Honda didn't offer too much extra information on the digital dashboard and we weren't able to play with it so we will have to wait a little longer to find out exactly how everything will work but it certainly looks promising.
Honda e Prototype range and performance
- 200km range
- Charged via AC
- 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes
The Honda e Prototype is said to offer a range of 200km, which is around 125 miles. It's less than other EVs, with vehicles like the Nissan Leaf offering a range of 395km (270 miles), though Honda said the batteries were as large as they can be for the size of the car.
The battery, which is a compact 35.5kWh lithium ion battery, can be recharged using Type 2 alternating current (AC), meaning it can be charged at home, using a conventional plug or dedicated charging unit. There's also fast charging compatibility through CCS2 DC rapid charge, which will allow the battery to charge to 80 per cent in 30 minutes.
Honda hasn't provided anymore details on the rest of the technology within the Honda e as yet but we will update this first look when we know a little more, as well as when we get a chance to drive a production model.
The Honda e Prototype is a lovely little car and a great piece of design. We love its modern-retro styling, the friendly look portrayed by the face at the front and the fantastic interior.
The rounded corners and curved edges make for a soft, approachable look, while the sporty details give the Honda e Prototype an extra edge. The full-width digital dashboard is very impressive in its own right, but the materials and finishes used within the interior, along with the clever storage and charging ports make the interior as exciting as the exterior on this vehicle.
We're really looking forward to this EV going into production so we can try out the performance and range but in terms of design, we love the Honda e Prototype.
This first look was first published in April 2019.