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Geneva show: Honda EV confirmed for 2019 production

Honda e Prototype electric hatchback set for production, Australian launch unlikely

Honda logo1 Mar 2019

HONDA has revealed its e Prototype concept ahead of a public debut at the Geneva motor show next week, confirming that the compact electric vehicle (EV) will go into production before year’s end.
 
The Japanese brand’s local wing has yet to confirm if it will import the plug-in hatchback, however its driving range of around 200 kilometres may fall short of Australian customer demands.
 
In earlier teasers released by Honda, the vehicle was known as the Urban EV Prototype, as it succeeded the Urban EV Concept revealed in 2017.
 
Before the e Prototype was revealed, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins confirmed that the brand is unlikely to accept the EV.
 
“At this stage it is only available for Europe,” he said. 
 
“We’re working on our whole electric vehicle strategy, not just that particular car. We’re taking a more conservative approach, mainly because the underlying demand (for EVs in Australia) is still very, very low.”
 
The e Prototype retains the small and muscular stance of the initial concept, however, it ditches the retro styling cues in favour of a more conservative, modern body style.
 
Its curved lines, multi-spoke wheels, camera-based wing mirrors and minimalist cabin have now been revealed in new images of the car, as it near its public debut at next week’s Geneva motor show.
 
The cabin is dominated by a dual-screen display running from the instrument cluster to the passenger’s side of the dashboard, while wood trim and grey cloth upholstery is used throughout.
 
Data from the wing mirrors is displayed on both corners of the dash, and the gear selector takes on a button-style interface in the centre console.
 
In an image of the interior, the dash displays vehicle status and charging information, and tablet-like menus for digital radio, Bluetooth, a personal assistant, smartphone mirroring, driver-assistance settings, climate control and HDMI input.
 
The image also shows a hill-hold button, drive mode selector, a heated steering wheel and two USB ports. 
 
Steering wheel switches reveal that lane-keep assist, autonomous cruise control and voice assistant are also onboard.
 
Honda has revealed little about the powertrain, saying that it will deliver a range of over 200 kilometres, featuring a fast charge functionality of 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes.
 
The brand also confirmed that it uses a rear-wheel-drive system, with the chassis tuned for strong driving dynamics for a “fun and emotive experience”.
 
After the vehicle is built, it will be the first mass-produced battery-electric vehicle (BEV) to be sold in Europe.
 
Honda projects that electrified vehicles will take up two-thirds of its global sales by 2030, and the new electric hatch is its first step in making that happen. 

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