For a car that is still technically a concept, the Honda e has certainly garnered a lot of interest. Slightly over a week since Honda Europe began accepting registrations of interest for its upcoming electric hatchback and 15,000 people have signed up.
Of course, registration of interests are not the same as someone paying money for a deposit but it’s still a good indication of the level of interest that consumers have for a car.
Honda says the car seen shown at the ongoing 2019 Geneva Motor Show is still a prototype but it might as well have been a production car. It already has wipers, turn signal stalks, parking sensors, and regulation compliant rear reflectors installed.
The highlight of the Honda e is of course its retro styling that clearly reminds us of the original Honda Civic.
The design was first presented as the Urban EV Concept (above) at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show and it’s quite impressive that the concept car’s design was able to mature into a near production car almost unchanged.
Even the illuminated Honda logo is retained (minus the social media style status update display, thankfully), as are the video cameras installed in place of conventional side mirrors, and pop out door handles.
Inside, the cabin is a mix of retro and digital age elements. A wide screen display dominates the cabin and buttons are kept at a minimum, but the two-spoke steering wheel, wood trim, and placement of air-conditioning controls hark back to the simplicity of the original Civic.
Enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the Honda e is rear wheel drive, and with the next generation BMW 1 Series switching to front wheel drive, the Honda e will fill the void of being the only rear wheel drive hatchback on sale.
Honda intends to keep the car affordable and that means that the battery capacity is rather small, with an electric driving range of just 200 km, positioning it as a city commuter car. When charged with a suitably equipped fast charger, the battery can be charged to 80 percent in 30 minutes.
A production version of the Honda e will be revealed later this year, and only then will the order books be opened. At the moment, the Honda e is limited only to Europe. It’s not Honda’s first production electric vehicle (that honour goes to the Clarity Electric) but it’s the first for a Honda in Europe.
And lastly for you ‘80s era kids, if you are wondering why didn’t Honda named the car as the famous Street Fighter video game character E. Honda, that’s because the intellectual property rights to E. Honda is owned by the game creator Capcom.
By transposing E. Honda's name into Honda e, and adopting the original Civic’s styling – which is familiar to anyone who grew up playing Street Fighter – it’s clear that many in the Honda e's development team were born in the '80s, and it's also very clear which demographics the Honda e is aimed at.