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Honda Urban EV no go for Australia

Urban outfit: The striking Honda Urban EV Concept stole the show at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show but it is unlikely to be offered in Australia.

Production version of Honda Urban EV Concept held back by lack of support

3 Sep 2018

HONDA Australia has confirmed that it will not import the production version of the Urban EV Concept that was the star of last year’s Frankfurt motor show.
While admitting that the model was high on his wish list, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins revealed that the 2019 showroom version of the battery electric vehicle (BEV) will initially be targeted to European customers.
Furthermore, with fewer than 800 BEV registrations in Australia out of 691,000 total vehicle sales to date this year, the company is not willing to take a risk on committing to a fully electrified vehicle in this country. 
“At this stage it is only available for Europe,” he said. “We’re working on our whole electric vehicle (EV) 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.
“That car will only be available initially at least in Europe. I’m not ruling it out in the future … but what happens in the future I don’t know. It could be an option available to us. I think it is a beautiful looking car and the styling of it would work for this market. But at this point it’s only available for Europe.”
Mr Collins said Honda has offered small volume models in the past, but they have to serve a purpose in the line-up.
“Where we can get a product that suits this market, we will put our hand up for. NSX is a good example. It’s tiny, tiny volume, but it’s great for our brand, we absolutely make no money out of it, and I think wherever there is that opportunity, and if that EV is one of those opportunities, then we would certainly put up our hand for it.
“But I have to say, we’ve had to restructure our business over the last few years, and really concentrate on our core products to get back to where we are today, which is really a much stronger position, and that allows us to look at those types of opportunities in the future.”
Expected to be unveiled later next year, the production version of the Urban EV Concept’s design is said to stick closely to the show car, including its Honda Civic Mk1-inspired nose and pert proportions. Driving range is believed to be about 250km.
The small four-seater hatchback will be one of a host of closely related EVs Honda is poised to release over the next five years, as previewed by the Sports EV Concept two-seater coupe that also made a splash last year.
More information on both models is expected to be revealed early next year.

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