This so-cute-it’s-gorgeous little rear-drive electric hatchback might be the most exciting Honda product since the Type R, but don’t everyone reach for your wallets—it won’t be sold in the U.S., according to the Honda insiders we’ve spoken with. That’s really unfortunate, as it seems to be the complete package.
Before we dive into the specs and details, take a second to just look at this thing. Sure, compared to the Urban EV concept that preceded it—which was our 2018 Concept of the Year—the exterior has ballooned and lost some of its crisp proportions. Blame the addition of two rear doors, but it’s still a remarkably good-looking thing given the compact hatchback rubric it draws upon.
But then you see the interior, and it’s like someone took the Model 3’s cabin and actually finished it, while simultaneously upgrading the materials and finding a real sense of style. It’s possible that it will lose some of its luster in person, but at first digital glance, this is what mainstream EV cabins should look like, and we love the way it blends classic lines and materials with technology. And it’s not just glitz and glamor; those huge screens put all of the critical information front and center, up high and near the driver’s line of sight. Those little trapezoidal screens at the edges of the dash? Those are the displays for the side rearview cameras, which replace the traditional mirrors. There’s a digital camera in place of the rearview mirror, too.
So what are the specs on this good-looking little electric runabout? Not impressive in Tesla terms, but then the e Prototype is intended for urban commuter duty, not long-haul highway usage. Accordingly, its battery pack (of unknown capacity) promises a 125-mile driving range and it has a fast-charge system that’ll restore 80 percent of battery capacity in just 30 minutes. Power and performance figures are also still under wraps, but given the instant-on torque of electric motors, the e Prototype’s rear-drive layout, and a wide stance with a chassis tune said to focus on sporty driving, the e Prototype promises to be an entertaining partner on the daily commute.
The Honda e is a typical Honda “prototype” in that it is a thinly disguised version of what you’ll see on the road, and production starts later this year for markets other than our own. Look for more details and specs on this tasty tidbit of forbidden fruit soon.