This Honda Performance Development-tuned EV is one electric car we're happy to endorse.
Honda and its local dealer associations have started production of the second batch of the Shogo, which is a tiny, fully-electric vehicle that will transport young kids at children's hospitals across the country. The Japanese brand delivered the first batch of Shogo nearly two years ago, but deliveries were limited to the Children's Health of Orange County.
The first two units have been delivered to Akron's Children in Ohio and the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, and the rest of these EVs will be delivered throughout the USA as early as this fall.
All in, there will be 60 of these cool little cars, built exclusively by Honda Performance Development (HPD), the SoCal-based center for Honda's North American Racing programs.
The Shogo is built specifically for kids aged between four and nine, and it's meant to make navigating the halls of a hospital easier and more enjoyable. The Stop/Go (throttle and brake) are located on the steering wheel to make driving easier, and the top speed is adjustable. The younger kids can be limited to one mph, while the more responsible kids can blast along at five mph. The car can also be pushed via the rear handlebar, to which the IV pole attaches.
Honda designed the Shogo to be easy to access and smooth to the touch for easier cleaning. The toy bucket in the front is for whatever items a child would like to carry along, and the license plate slot is customizable to display its driver's name.
That's the kind of stuff that tends to stick with you. If these kids beat whatever illness is keeping them in there, the Honda brand will stay with them well into their adult lives.
Why let kids loose in a hospital with a tiny EV with edgy styling reminiscent of the previous-generation Honda Civic Type R? Because a Shogo provides much more joy than an intimidating hospital bed to a child that's likely already traumatized by surroundings and medical procedures they don't fully understand.
"HPD is much like a prototype shop, but with a racing pedigree and capabilities from product engineering to production, so we knew incorporating Shogo into our Honda Expands Project Courage manufacturing process was the perfect fit," said Kelvin Fu, vice president at Honda Performance Development.
Since the first batch was meant to be a trial, HPD has made some modifications to the Shogo. According to Honda, it improved Shogo's durability, safety, and performance. Since HPD's specialty is racing, it couldn't help but add a few touches as an homage to its racing pedigree.
The Shogo boasts IndyCar steering shaft washers and front knuckle bearings, and steering borrowed from a Honda-powered go-kart. Even the VIN tag is a laser-cut item shaped like a Shogo, bonded to the chassis. As a bonus, HPD also added some new cheerful sounds to the Shogo's horn.
"Creating Shogo was a true labor of love for our team of Honda associates and engineers driven by our desire to bring joy and mobility to young patients dealing with a hospital stay," said Hundy Liu, manager of national automobile advertising and Project Courage Lead, American Honda. "We're incredibly excited to expand the program by partnering with our Honda dealer network to make a Shogo vehicle possible for more children's hospitals nationwide and use the power of play and laughter to help ease the stress and anxiety of hospitalized children and their families."