► Honda E could be joined by sports car
► Concept car EV already shown
► New patent filings reveal production look
Remember the Honda Sports EV Concept? It looks like the Japanese firm could be making it after all. Revealed back at the 2017 Toyko motor show, the Sports EV Concept followed the Honda E – and at the time we were told its production prospects depended on its critical reception. Now a patent filing dug up by automotive writer Bozi Tatarevic appears to show a revised iteration of the concept – and we’re hoping that means the two-seater is coming to production.
Registered by Honda Motor Co Ltd just a few weeks ago, the patent appears to show a redesigned version of the concept first shown in Japan. And while we feel the production version of the Honda E looks a little less striking than its original concept, this new Sports EV design looks significantly better.
Renders in the patent show a much more squared-off design than the original concept, and it looks like Honda has moved away from the 1960s-style curves of the car we saw in Tokyo. However, some design cues – such as the front lights and black design line – remain on these new official pictures. If anything, the look is more aggressive and edgier than the original – and we can’t argue with that.
As for powertrain? We expect the Sports EV will use the same platform as the Honda E, but likely come with a more powerful electric powertrain. If that’s the case, we’d expect to see the uprated battery and motor also appear in a hotter, Type R-style Honda E in the future.
Keep reading for everything we know about the original Sports EV Concept, and our coverage back when it was first revealed.
Honda Sports EV concept: revealed at the 2017 Tokyo motor show
Honda followed its show-stealing Urban EV Concept city car with a gorgeous two-seat EV sports car, the logically named Sports EV Concept. Developed at breakneck speed following an internal competition between Honda’s myriad design studios around the world, the Sports EV Concept is just a concept for now.
While the Urban EV was confirmed for 2019 production in Europe, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the Sports EV Concept’s hopes of making production reality ‘depend on feedback from Europe and Japan’.
‘The Urban EV is still two years so we’re sorry but we have no specific details or specification on these EV models,’ said Hachigo. ‘However, I can say that we are going to create a dedicated EV platform, and the Sports EV Concept uses this platform to maximise the joy of driving an EV.'
Honda's 'determination to pursue electrification'
'There will also be a commercial vehicle based on the same platform. Together these will be iconic cars for the Honda brand. They present to the world the plan for the electrification of the Honda brand. They represent our determination to pursue electrification in Europe, and they will change the image of Honda.’
Hachigo also confirmed Honda’s pledge that two-thirds of its cars sold in Europe will be electrified in some way by 2025.
Makoto Harada, the 34-year-old designer, lead the Sports EV Concept project and designed the exterior. ‘This is my baby,’ he said, visibly delighted to have been given the opportunity to deliver that baby to the world. ‘This was the craziest project ever – super tight! In design terms we took a lot of risks and we had a hard time. For example, it took three clay models pursing the same sketch to really capture what made the car cool. We were working on it up to the very last minute, especially the surfacing on the sides of the car.’
So, tell us more about the Sports EV Concept
A compact two-seat sports car, the Sports EV sits on Honda’s new BEV platform, about which little has been confirmed other than an underfloor battery. The concept uses the same front and rear lights as the Urban EV and the same dash, though the city car’s bench seat has been sensibly swapped out for more supportive sports buckets.
‘Sharing the platform, headlight, taillights and interior space with the Urban EV Concept contributes to cost reduction but also builds a family feel,’ said Harada. ‘I also wanted to capture that backyard custom car feel, of using the same components in different ways.
‘I cannot tell you anything about the package but when it comes to EV you can easily change everything; there is more freedom. You can change things and change the weight distribution, the centre of gravity, the roll centre… But since this only a concept so these things are not settled yet; the board members don’t know yet.’
Honda's aim: to make it a great driver's EV
Harada hopes the car will re-unite car and driver, bringing them back to a long-lost level of intimacy. ‘Back in the day people were way closer to their cars – that has changed,’ he added. ‘Sports cars now only appeal to a small number of people.
'I wanted to change that and design a car that’s not offensive to people but a partner to them. It uses artificial intelligence to build a mutual relationship, when you’re driving a winding road for example. In design terms too it is about bringing people closer to the car. I was worked a lot on facial expressions; neutral, not angry or too funny.
‘You say there are classic ’60s design elements on the car. I would say that we as human being haven’t changed; beautiful is still beautiful and you cannot deny biology.’
Fingers crossed Honda doesn’t deny Harada’s little bundle of joy a chance at production life.