Honda (and Toyota) have concentrated until recently on electric and hydrogen cars and ceded Tesla and others the EV market. The management, however, has convinced a maverick band of Honda engineer to create the HondaE. They have even kept the idea of Urban E very similar to the wild futuristic inside.
The E is one of the first vehicles in its new “electronic vision” along with hybrid-only Jazz (also known as the Fit in the US, the next generation) to be used in Honda. A few years ago, Honda did not talk much about electric cars but by 2030 she plans to electrify two thirds of her vehicles worldwide. In 2022, it wants all its main European models to be electrically or hybrid.
According to Takahiro Shinya, head of dynamic performance for the Honda E, the design is like that for a reason. “We needed to provide buyers with a vehicle that, at a glance, is something different,” he said. “We don’t want you to feel like you just have a different motor, but that you have bought something which is completely new, completely ‘next-generation’.”
The most controversial part of the E is the 35.5 kilowatt-hour battery, which is smallish compared to rivals. The company figures it’s plenty big enough for urban driving and pointed out that it makes the car lighter, sportier and more efficient
“Our interior designer wanted to create a space that’s like a living room, with a sofa and TV,” Shinya noted. “That’s to ensure that this car is not only comfortable for when you’re driving, but also when you’re charging. We wanted it to let people use it almost as a private room.”
The dashboard is completely covered by screens. Looking across, you have two 6-inch side screens for the mirrors, along with an 8.8-inch driver info display. Then there are the two 12.3-inch touchscreens in the middle, one for the driver and one for the front-seat passenger.