Honda shows Geneva-bound E Prototype

Minimalism is in.

The Urban EV concept that Honda unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show is well on its way to production. The Japanese firm will travel to the Geneva auto show opening its doors in March of 2019 to unveil a close-to-production prototype of the car, and it revealed the model online ahead of its public debut.

The E Prototype keeps most of the concept's defining design cues. The front end wears round LED headlights integrated into a black panel and a back-lit Honda emblem, an interesting feature that's illegal in many European countries (including Germany). The Urban EV has gotten a little bit rounder in its transition from a concept car to a production model, and it has grown a set of rear doors.

Minimalism is the name of the game inside. There is a simple, two-spoke multi-function steering wheel, a digital instrument cluster, and a wide screen positioned on top of a flat dashboard. Honda retained a handful of buttons, including a volume knob and HVAC controls on the center stack. The firm promises the E Prototype offers a lounge-like interior thanks in part to sofa-like fabric upholstery and a flat floor.

The E Prototype marks the beginning of Honda's electric car offensive, and it's being developed with an electric powertrain in mind. It won't be available with any kind of gasoline-powered engine, whether it's the main source of power or a range extender. It rides on a modular platform that places the motor over the rear wheels. Honda promises about 120 miles of range, and a fast-charge function that delivers an 80-percent charge in 30 minutes. Details like the size and type of the battery pack haven't been released yet.

We'll learn more details about the production version of the Honda Urban EV concept during the Geneva auto show. We'll have to admire it from afar when it goes on sale, though. Honda has confirmed the model is being developed primarily for the European market, and it will not be sold in the United States. Rival Volkswagen made the same decision about its electric I.D. hatchback.

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