Honda and MINI have unveiled battery-powered runabouts which are as cute as a button cell. Both are promising prototypes destined to become eco-friendly production models in 2019. Honda’s Urban EV Concept is smaller than the Jazz supermini, but far jazzier in terms of styling. The proportions, stance and details (especially the exterior lamps and lighting effects) of the concept hatchback make it look like a funky blend of Tamiya RC car kit and Tamagotchi gadget. Those rear-hinged doors reveal an equally funky interior. There’s a “floating” dashboard with a slab of digital display, a space-age steering wheel, extremely simple controls, and door-mounted screens that serve as side mirrors. Inside the den-like footwell are two pedals straight out of sci-fi manga. Natural fabric and modern wood decorate the cabin.
The MINI Electric Concept (right) looks like an electrified version of the regular three-door hatch. The smoothly contoured body is painted in Reflection Silver (described as “a matt liquid metal colour shade”), with contrasting Striking Yellow accents/ gradients. The wacky 19-inch wheels have 3D-printed aerodynamic inlays, and each of the tail-lights uses an LED dot matrix to cheekily form one half of the Union Jack.
As for the performance potential of its Electric Concept, MINI mentions a zero-emissions drive system that is always quick off the mark and a precision-tuned suspension, along with maximised range and unique driving dynamics.