Honda has been credited with delivering an unlikely star of the Frankfurt Motor Show, with its 1970s and 1980s-inspired Urban EV city car.
Following similar announcements by Volvo and Jaguar, Honda said that every car it sells in Europe from 2025 will have an electric or hybrid option in the range.
And one of those cars will be this charming little offering that has been revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt show to widespread plaudits.
Honda’s electric city car for 2019: Like this diminutive design? Honda says there will be a production model based on the Urban EV concept car in two years’ time
It’s called the Urban EV and will be going into production in 2019, the Japanese car maker confirmed.
Honda had already paved the way for a commitment to electric power by confirming last week that its new-for-2018 CR-V will not be available with a diesel engine.
Instead, the family-friendly SUV – also showcased in the flesh for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show – will only be sold with an efficient turbocharged petrol engine or a greener hybrid alternative.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Japanese automotive brand, which says it will offer electrified versions of each model it sells in Europe by 2025.
By 2030 it expects to do the same with the range it sells worldwide.
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The news was confirmed by Honda Motor Company President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo, who recognised the importance of electrification in the European market amid Government backing for future bans on petrol and diesel car sales in the UK, France and elsewhere across the continent.
‘Here in Europe, we see this move towards electrification gathering pace at an even higher rate than elsewhere,’ he said.
He added that Europe was therefore particularly appropriate for the global premiere of the ‘next step’ in Honda’s ‘Electric Vision’ strategy.
The retro city car features rear-hinged doors designed to make it easier for the two rear-seat passengers to access the back row
Based on a classic: Here’s how the new Urban EV concept looks compared to a 1970s original Honda Civic. Can you spot the likeness?
That next step is this wonderfully dinky plug-in hybrid car showcased for the first time at the German motor show.
For now, it is being called the Urban EV and is only a concept. However, there will be a production version on sale sooner than many of the other electric concepts showcased at the same event by the likes of BMW, Mercedes, VW and Audi.
‘This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019,’ Takahiro Hachigo commented.
The straight grille, round headlamps, curved window section at the back and dinky dimensions of the original 1972 Honda Civic (pictured) appear to have been passed down
There is an uncanny resemblance to the first Honda Civic. The enormous finely-spoked wheels are a departure from the original, though
Honda Motor Company President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo (pictured) said: ‘This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019.’
Further information about the car has remained under wraps, with no confirmation of range, charging duration and potential price released.
Based on size and battery storage capacity alone, we’d expect the Urban EV production model to have a range of around 200 miles between charges.
Of all the cars launched at the major European automotive event, this is one of the standout vehicles, receiving praise for its adorable looks and retro styling cues.
With its small dimensions, round headlamps and A-pillars so thin that a crash test dummy would wince if it saw them, it is reminiscent of the original Honda Civic launched some 45 years ago.
It also carries echoes of other popular small cars of the past, ranging from the original VW Golf, to the Peugeot 205, Lancia Delta and Fiat 127.
Bearing a similarity: We think the Urban EV has a strong likeness to some iconic hatchbacks, including the VW Golf MK1 (left) and Peugeot 205 (right)
There are also similarities to the Lancia Delta Integrale (left) and Fiat 127 (right) – in our opinion
Every Honda available in Europe from 2025 will have an option of an electric or hybrid powertrain, the Japanese car maker confirmed on Tuesday
Inside, the Urban EV has a very simplistic layout that’s dominated by a windscreen-wide touchscreen display
Inside, the cabin has a minimalist layout with all the functionality held in an interactive screen spanning across the entirety of the dashboard.
The whole of the cabin is finished in natural fabrics and wood panels while the steering wheel is an abstract square shape without spokes.
There’s enough seats for four people and the pair of rear-hinged doors make it easier for back-seat occupants to enter and exit the diminutive city vehicle.
In true concept fashion, Honda has also moved away from some conventional requirements. In this case that means no door mirrors, replacing them with cameras linked to the wide-screen display in the cockpit.
— Honda UK (@Honda_UK) September 13, 2017
The Urban EV could also benefit from Honda’s new Power Manager system also revealed at the show, which is designed to store energy more efficiently and potentially earn owners a bit of cash.
The system is able to recognise when the batteries have been replenished by renewable sources – which is cheaper than via the network – and suggest optimum times when owners should harness the energy to power their homes and best periods to sell the electricity back to the grid at a higher rate.
If the production car looks anything like the concept, it should be a real hit.
Not too keen on one-make race series? How about one featuring all-electric family SUVs with enormous spoilers?
Jaguar to host electric I-Pace race series
One-make race series can throw-up some interesting racing – think of the Renault Clio championships and the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup that shares a calendar with F1.
In 2018, there will be a new addition and it will be missing one key element – noise.
That’s because Jaguar has committed to a single-make race series. But instead of using the rowdy F-Type sports car, it will feature the new electric I-Pace SUV that was originally designed to shuttle families in silence and the utmost luxury.
The series was confirmed by the British car manufacturer at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where it displayed one of the modified competition racers fitted with a tarmac-shaving front splitter and a rear spoiler big enough to host a banquet on.
The Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy will be one of the support series to the Formula E championship
It will see a field of 20 five-seat family SUVs go head-to-head at some of the most demanding street circuits around the globe
The modified racers will feature a rear spoiler big enough to host a banquet on
The championship will run alongside the Formula E series – in which Jaguar also competes – meaning races at circuits in Hong Kong, Paris, Rome, New York and Sao Paolo next season.
Called the I-Pace eTrophy, it will consist of a filed of 20 five-seater family SUVs bashing bodywork for as many laps as their electric powertrains can feasibly last.
Jaguar’s SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) department will produced each competition car
The I-Pace eTrophy will see the electric cars compete at circuits in Hong Kong, Paris, Rome, New York and Sao Paolo
The series will start next year, when the I-Pace is due to go on sale for around £60,000
Gerd Mäuser, chairman of Jaguar Racing, said: ‘With the launch of the Jaguar I-Pace eTROPHY we have strengthened our commitment to battery electric vehicles, international motorsport and Formula E.
‘As a British team, we are proud to announce today the launch of the world’s first production battery electric vehicle championship.
‘Ultimately this innovative series will enhance the technology in our future electric vehicles and benefit our customers.’