When one door shuts, another door opens. We are now really seeing the shift to the era of electric vehicles. Faced with the consequences of “dieselgate” and ever stricter environmental standards, HONDA is among the brands that managed to innovate and adapt very successfully, resulting in the official presentation, on March 5, of its 100% electric urban car, the Honda e Prototype.
Modern minimalism is not just about appearances.
As I like to focus on the aesthetics of cars, I will start with the colour combination chosen for their prototype. I simply loved it. I have only recently started to really appreciate modern white cars (the vintage ones obviously often wear white most elegantly), and this beautifully designed car confirms that taste. The combination of frosty white and shining black at the front and rear, and in small details such as the Bond-like side view mirrors (which have been replaced with compact cameras!) gives the Honda e Prototype a chic, sporty and avant-gardist look (the designers are not keen on calling it “retro”, and I would also rather call it futuristic in its simplicity of design). Driver assistance systems are almost invisible. The charging socket is concealed. The roof seems to float elegantly on the glass surface. The result ? It’s not just a new electric city car. It (although I should really say “she”…) is as elegant as desirable (Wired called its design “achingly stylish” – a very appropriate choice of words!). Thanks to its perfectly proportioned silhouette, it only needs to slip silently in the streets to conquer the city.
Speaking of cameras, not only the outside side view mirrors have been replaced by cameras in this concept car, but also the rear one increasing the driver’s field of vision! Not sure this particular one will be adopted for the commercial version (most think the side view cameras might make it to production), but I certainly hope so because my partner has a tendency of putting coats right behind the rear window, blocking all mirror sight. The screens for the side view mirrors have been seamlessly integrated in the stylish dashboard, without taking too much place – I do wonder how the light from this huge panoramic dashboard screen (it goes all the way from one side to the other) will be managed when driving at night, though.
According to the Honda team at work at the Geneva International Motor Show, the car has a sophisticated digital backbone. Unfortunately I could not get all the details, and I had a feeling Honda might want to keep some secret around the digital features until the commercial version is available. Connectivity and user-machine interaction is at the core of so many products these days, and technology is changing so fast, that it would be difficult to comment today on what the final platform and its use cases will look like. As an ‘influencer’, you won’t be surprised that I have strong hopes that the digital platform will allow for social interaction and connectivity, as well as AI-driven user experiences (how cool would it be if my car could recognize the people inside and interact with them to enhance the driving experience?) I certainly like the fact that the co-pilot has his own independent infotainment screen which may allow for great in-car entertainment.
SPACE & DESIGN
The car showcased in Geneva was a four-seater with four passenger doors. The back doors are barely distinguishable as doors from the outside, because the door handles have been integrated in the black frame of the windows. That adds to the car’s sporty looks. I think it’s great to have four doors, particularly because I often drive children around, and to have to move the front seat every time they hop in and out would cause me severe shoulder damage!
Inside, the cabin is quite spacious with a modern minimalist aesthetic that creates a relaxed ambience for occupants. A comfortable lounge-like feel is achieved with the application of melange-style sofa fabric and other tactile materials often found in contemporary homes. The sense of spaciousness is enhanced by the walk-through flat floor in the front and rear of the cabin.
When talking about electric cars, the first question is often about autonomy. How far can I get with my car on a single charge? But I think there is an important additional nuance that needs to be added immediately: how long does it take to charge the battery? In the case of the Honda e Prototype, a single charge will give you 200 km. That may not seem impressive… But if you charge the battery for 30 minutes, it is already at 80% of capacity, and that is a record breaking feature compared to other electric cars in the market! As this is a city car, it can spend a lot of time charging in the parking garage while I’m running errands in town. The car will come with two-wheel (rear) drive initially, which would need to be tested on the often slippery Swiss and French roads.
More than 15,000 persons have currently shown interest for this car, if you are as well I suggest you subscribe here to get more informations about the Honda e Prototype, and be the first to know about its release!
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This article is sponsored by Honda but all opinions remain my own.