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Honda reboots the classic ’60s sports car with its EV Sport Concept

Published: 25 October 2017

► Second Honda EV Concept is a two-seat sports car
► Sits on new EV platform but not yet confirmed for production
► Start an online petition. Now

Honda has 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 in the last few months following an internal competition between Honda’s myriad design studios, the Sports EV Concept is just a concept for now.

While the Urban EV has been confirmed for 2019 production in Europe, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo says the Sports EV Concept’s hopes of making production reality ‘depends on feedback from Europe and Japan’. We’re going to bet it’ll be rapturous.

‘The Urban EV is still two years so we’re sorry but we have no specific details or specification on these EV models,’ says 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 confirmed Honda’s pledge that two-thirds of its cars sold in Europe will be electrified in some way by 2025.

Honda Sports EV

Makoto Harada, the 34-year-old designer, lead the Sports EV Concept project and designed the exterior. ‘This is my baby,’ he says, 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,’ continues 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 says. ‘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. 

Honda Sports EV

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three