If you’re of a certain age, a quick glance of the new Honda Urban EV Concept will probably bring back memories of bubbly-butt Honda hatchbacks from the late 70s through the 80s. And that’s not a slight – those cars were cute, economical, and dependable. This latest update unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show can add two additional descriptors to its features list: “electric” and “emotional”.
Though the compact concept envisioned is an undeniable nod to the silhouette of hatchbacks of yesteryear, the Honda Urban EV Concept also evokes the sportier spirit of the old Audi Quattro and original Volkswagen Scirocco. Its compact and low profile stature presents an immediately more aggressive presence than its decades old precursors while still looking fresh and promising a fun ride. But unlike those German gas guzzlers, Honda envisions their all-electric concept car as the technological future of efficient performance – an energy efficient go kart for a post-petrol, plug-in lifestyle.
Its “pug on four wheels” personality extends into the Urban EV’s cabin, represented by its very own integrated personal assistant. The “Honda Automated Network Assistant” (will it answer to “Hana”?), the smart-learning concierge system ascertains behavioral patterns and even detects emotions behind the driver’s judgments; in time the system then offers recommendations according to these driver patterns.
According to Honda Motor Co. President and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, the Urban EV “is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019″. Unfortunately that promise doesn’t necessarily mean a stateside release, a shame in light of the historical popularity and sales of the VW Bug, MINI Cooper, and Fiat 500 in dense urban areas. We’re crossing our nostalgic fingers this mighty mite reaches our shores.