The Honda EV-Ster was a surprise debut from the Japanese automaker at the Tokyo show this morning. Aiming to demonstrate that driving pleasure is at the core of the company’s DNA, the two-seater is an exercise in lightweight and diminutive dimensions – it measures just 3570mm long, 1500mm wide, 1100mm tall and has a wheelbase that spans 2325mm.
Honda calls the EV-Ster a ‘next generation electric sports car’ and claims it features ‘dynamic and innovative styling’. Unfortunately the design is unnecessarily overwrought for such a small vehicle. Slotting in just 170mm longer than Japanese kei car regulations, the complex surface treatment on the bodyside and lack of plan shape make the car appear truncated and smaller than it actually is. A more organic surface treatment, such as that found on the larger AS-X concept sitting beside it on the showstand, would have improved the overall aesthetic of the diminutive vehicle.
Judging from the sheer number of electromotive mobility concepts on the Honda stand it seems clear that the company is committed on delivering on its sustainable promise and achieving its goal of addressing climate change and energy resource issues, we just wish it would turn to nature to influence its design language as well.
With the increasing popularity of the small vehicle segment in Japan, the N-Box is a particularly interesting and attractive proposition. It’s also one that is expected to double the sales of Honda’s products in the segment in the coming year, as the company launches the first model in the Japanese market on December 16.
The N Concept 3 – essentially the same model as the N-Box with a more aggressive, chrome laden face – will be sold under the ‘Custom’ nomenclature and will launch in the spring of 2012, while the Concept 4 – the car variant of the two-box ‘mini-minivan’ with a similar DRG to the EN-V concept unveiled at the 2009 Tokyo motor show – will follow in the autumn.
Built on an all-new platform, the N-Box is just shy of 4m long, has a 2520mm-long wheelbase and a cabin that’s 2180mm in overall length, maximizing interior space. Its simple IP and infinitely reconfigurable rear cabin space enable it to cater to a number of people looking for a practical mode of transport and its diminutive size make it a marvel for navigating and parking in congested urban milieus.
Honda showed off its vision for the future of mobility in the form of numerous concepts on its poorly lit showstand in Tokyo today. Alongside the AC-X hybrid car and the Micro Commuter Concept was an all-new version of the Motocompo foldaway scooter, the EV-Ster, and four different variants of the forthcoming N-Box. All of these were on show amidst the company’s motorcycles, which President Takanobu Ito referred to as “the heart of Honda”.