The Honda Urban EV Concept was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2017. It made its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, and in the months since, Honda has apparently decided that it was promising enough that the Japanese automaker has decided to approve a production version. In fact, order books for the production version of the model are scheduled to open from early 2019, setting the stage for the Urban EV Concept to become Honda’s first mass-produced battery electric vehicle to hit the market in Europe.
We admit that there was a mixed reaction here at TopSpeed when the Honda Urban EV Concept was unveiled. But, that’s all water under the bridge, and clearly, Honda didn’t think too much of it. What it did care about was gauging the interest people had of the concept. It turns out that enough people thought highly of the Urban EV Concept’s potential that the Japanese automaker just issued a press release announcing that it’s going to open order books for the production model beginning in the early part of 2019.
Honda Motor Europe Senior Vice President Philip Ross confirmed as much in the press release. “A production version of this highly acclaimed concept will be introduced to Europe during late 2019, and in response to the positive feedback to this model, we expect to open order banks for the Urban EV during early 2019,” he said.
So what does a production version of the Honda Urban EV Concept mean for Honda and the whole segment? It’s unclear how the Japanese automaker plans to tackle the design element of the car, but we don’t think that it’s going to completely use the concept’s design on the production model. Remember, the Urban EV Concept’s design was inspired by the first-generation Honda Civic. It appealed to some people while others didn’t think too highly of it when it was unveiled in Paris. Expect some mainstream changes in the production version’s design to make it more appealing to more people.
On the tech front, the concept previewed some interesting goodies to look out for. One of the most distinctive features of the Urban EV Concept was the wrap-around screen that extended into the doors. While it would be interesting to see that kind of setup on the production model, it’s unlikely that Honda’s going to invest in it considering where the model’s place is going to be relative to the automaker’s portfolio. Fortunately, we shouldn’t expect those two bench seats, either. That’d just be a crime against our backs.
Interestingly enough, Honda actually didn’t reveal information about the concept’s powertrain when the model was unveiled in Frankfurt. This gives Honda the advantage of testing out what kind of powertrain would work best on the production model. Rest assured, don’t expect it to carry a gas engine of any sort. It’s going to be an electric car, that much we’re all sure of.
Regardless, the Nissan Leafs and Volkswagen e-Golfs of the world better start paying attention to what Honda’s plans for the Urban EV are.
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