Honda launches retro Urban EV concept car, previewing 2019 production model

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Almost every manufacturer is planning on launching an all-electric vehicle in the next few years, and this will be Honda's entry – the Urban EV. Previewed in concept form at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it's a retro-styled car with a thoroughly modern powertrain underneath.

The Urban EV will be Honda's first all-electric vehicle for Europe. Despite the electric underpinnings, the car itself has fantastically retro styling. The round LED headlamps and angular body are clear references to the first-generation Honda Civic, while the backlit Honda emblem will become a feature on all Honda EVs.


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In between the headlamps, interactive messages can be displayed, allowing the Urban EV to communicate with pedestrians, other drivers, and display charge status updates.

Step in through the rear-hinged suicide doors, and you'll find the Urban EV's interior does not match the retro flavour outside. Instead, a floating wooden centre console and super-wide dashboard display dominate. The screen extends into the door panels and doubles as wing mirrors, with digital cameras taking the place of traditional units.

Honda has not revealed any details of the Urban EV's powertrain, such as performance or driving range, but the company launched the car alongside "Power Manager" – a charging system designed to incorporate electric cars into the national power grid.

The system would let owners use their cars to feed electricity back into the grid at peak times, and then refill them overnight when demand is low. It's likely the Urban EV would play a part in this, as part of Honda's pledge that every new model line in Europe would feature electrification in the power train.