Fight for Electric Freedom
Kohei Hitomi has played a key part of the Honda e project since its inception, persuading those around him to allow him to freely develop a fully electric car that was ideal for the urban motorist.
He recalls that there were "many people, including management, had the opinion that to advance market share of electric vehicles, it is essential to overcome the negatives, the drawbacks of an electric vehicle, which is driving range."
Eventually it was agreed that in order to provide that desired driving range, it was essential for the Honda e to include a bigger battery to achieve that. This explains in part the power and reliability of the model, as well as its slightly larger size.
With this freedom, Kohei and his team set about creating the next part of Honda's electric revolution. They were met with a huge number of challenges, how to give it the power required whilst keeping it compact and ideal for urban life. How were they going to ensure its sustainability and reliability as a fully electric vehicle? These questions formed every part of the design process.
New Design, New Concept
Once the design was put down on paper and their vision was made clearer than ever, the team put that to the side whilst they perfected the practicalities of the vehicle by creating the Honda Urban EV prototype, which came long before the Honda e prototype - something that has never been done before at Honda.
"We ended up transferring some aspects from the prototype because the drivers loved them so much," says Kohei.
Once the aspects of both the prototype and the design concept were merged, the team re-visited the challenge of charge and power.
The Honda e needed to be fast-charging to meet the fast-paced nature of urban life. The Panasonic battery found in the Honda e achieved just that, giving drivers an 80% charge (from when the low charge warning light comes on) in just 30 minutes, offering a range of up to 125 miles.
Clean Lines, Futuristic Stance
The body shape of the electric car, design by Ken Sahara, was designed to stand out from the crowd and give off a futuristic feel, whilst reflecting Honda's vision of 'simplicity in urban mobility.'
Even though Ken achieved this futuristic shape, something else became a highlight of the new design: the charging point. The decision behind featuring the charging point at the front and centre of the bonnet is to celebrate its status as an electric car. Not only that, but charging from the front of the vehicle is much more practical than charging it in the same way you would fill up a petrol or diesel car.
Beauty in Simplicity, Inside and Out
Lead Interior Designer, Akinori Miyou, took the idea of simple lines and futuristic mobility to the interior of the Honda e, utilising the space inside to offer comfort and practicality for the driver and passengers. No area inside the vehicle has been wasted, having created a 'co-pilot' function with a large digital screen flowing throughout the dashboard that can be used by both the driver and front passenger.
The fabric and high quality materials used were to create the idea of a Living Room, with wood panels used to create a more inviting space for everyone in the vehicle and soft, wool mix fabrics for the seats for optimum comfort. This is all achieved whilst never losing the essence of 'futuristic mobility' and clean lines.
Ideal for Urban Life
Throughout the dream, to design concept, to prototype and now reality, the Honda e delivers agility, simplicity, power and sustainability which makes the Honda e ideal for urban life.