Honda stuns with MX-5 ri­val

Funky Tokyo con­cept could fol­low plat­form-shar­ing Ur­ban EV sib­ling to pro­duc­tion

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - MARK TIS­SHAW

Show car wows Tokyo

Honda’s Sports EV con­cept is a strik­ing elec­tric sports car with clear pro­duc­tion in­tent. Re­vealed at the Tokyo mo­tor show, it is the sec­ond model on Honda’s new ded­i­cated elec­tric ve­hi­cle plat­form af­ter the Ur­ban EV city car shown at the re­cent Frank­furt show.

The Ur­ban EV will make pro­duc­tion in 2019 as the first model in the new fam­ily. A pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Sports EV has not been ap­proved by Honda chiefs yet, but is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said: “We’re go­ing to eval­u­ate and see the feed­back on Sports EV from Europe and Ja­pan, to learn if we should launch this.”

The mar­que has been steadily in­creas­ing its num­ber of sporty of­fer­ings over re­cent years. Cre­at­ing the Sports EV would sig­nal that it in­tends to keep on do­ing so mov­ing into the era of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. Honda al­ready has an elec­tri­fied su­per­car – the NSX – so it is no stranger to the tech­nol­ogy.

If Honda could move the con­cept to pro­duc­tion as quickly as it will the Ur­ban EV, it could have the Sports EV ready by 2020, well ahead of any elec­tric sports car ri­val.

The model would join the NSX and Civic Type R as one of Honda’s flag­ship per­for­mance of­fer­ings, along­side the S660 mid-en­gined, rear-wheel-drive kei car sold in Ja­pan only. The NSX and S660 both started out as con­cept cars that went on to make pro­duc­tion.

Honda is keen to cre­ate a fam­ily of elec­tric cars us­ing the new ar­chi­tec­ture to achieve economies of scale. On that point, Hachigo said: “We might ex­tend the se­ries of EVS within the same fam­ily.”

The car re­vealed at Tokyo bor­rows its main stylis­tic themes from the well-re­ceived Ur­ban EV con­cept, the de­sign of which Honda has said will make pro­duc­tion largely un­changed. The in­te­rior of the Sports EV is, apart from the

seats, a straight carry-over from the Ur­ban EV.

Although Honda did not dis­close the Sports EV’S di­men­sions, it seems a lit­tle longer than the 3895mm of the Ur­ban EV and close to the 3950mm of the Mazda MX-5.

Honda has re­tained clas­sic long-bon­net, cab-back­wards pro­por­tions of a front-en­gined, rear-wheel-drive sports car in the age of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. The con­cept’s ap­pear­ance is the work of Makoto Harada, who be­came sole de­signer on the project af­ter win­ning a global in­ter­nal com­pe­ti­tion (see sep­a­rate story, above right).

No spe­cific pow­er­train de­tails have been re­vealed by Honda for ei­ther the Ur­ban EV or Sports EV con­cepts.

Honda said the Ur­ban EV fea­tures a high-den­sity light­weight bat­tery pack with in­te­grated heat man­age­ment and en­ergy trans­fer func­tions both to and from the ve­hi­cle. The same tech­nol­ogy would ap­pear likely to fea­ture in the Sports EV too.

The Sports EV’S bat­tery pack is mounted in the floor of the car. A source quoted a range of 150 miles for the Ur­ban EV, which could be repli­cated in the Sports EV.

Honda has al­ready com­mit­ted to hav­ing an elec­tri­fied ver­sion of ev­ery model in its range from now on. In Europe, Honda hopes to have two-thirds of its new car sales us­ing elec­tri­fied tech­nol­ogy by 2025, five years ear­lier than its over­all global goal.

We’re go­ing to see the feed­back on Sports EV to learn if we should launch this

Sports EV shares de­sign cues with the Ur­ban EV re­vealed at Frank­furt

Sports EV’S cabin is sim­i­lar to that of the Ur­ban EV, seen here

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