Interview

Honda Urban EV Final Design Was Done Before The Concept's Debut

The 2019 production version won't look very different than this.

Last September at Frankfurt, Honda unveiled what turned out to be one of the show’s stars, the Urban EV concept. It rides on an all-new platform designed specifically for battery-powered cars and is slated to enter production in the second half of 2019. In fact, you can already place an order for one. We were told this when we sat down with Honda design chief, Makoto Iwaki, at Geneva last week, along with the fact that the production version’s design was mostly finalized even before the concept’s arrival.

“I can say the production version is not very different from the concept vehicle. The development of the production vehicle came first,” Iwaki-san said. “The design was done first and only then did we create the concept for the public. The concept has bigger tires and is lower to the ground than the production vehicle and so those differences are there. In reality, the concept version was based on the production car, not the other way around.” Iwaki-san did admit, however, that the final touches are being done on the production Urban EV at this very moment, though many of the concept’s cool exterior styling bits, specifically the “Honda Urban EV Concept” on the front grille won’t be retained due to obvious government-imposed safety regulations.

However, the production status of the Sports EV is less certain. “We built that (Sports EV) as purely a design study. There are no immediate plans to put it into production,” Iwaki-san said, who is also pictured here standing next to it along with the Urban EV. The Urban EV production car, which could undergo a name change, will initially be a European exclusive vehicle. Considering North America is a vital market for Honda, chances are the Urban EV will arrive stateside at a later date, though the automaker has not made anything official just yet.

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