There’s a revolution coming. You won’t see it, because there won’t be any placards and marches. You can’t hear it, because it doesn’t make any noise. Yet it’s just over the horizon, and promises to change the way hundreds of millions of people live their lives. The electric Honda is on its way.
Countries around the world have served notice on diesel and petrol cars. From Britain to France, India to China, governments have begun to lay down regulation designed to encourage the adoption of cleaner, more sustainable forms of transport.
The thinking goes that burning fossil fuels emits potentially harmful levels of pollutants. If nations, and individuals, can improve their share of sustainably generated power, electric cars – which are powered by a battery and electric motor instead of a combustion engine - could take the place of petrol and diesel models, and vehicle emissions could be reduced.
It’s a long journey that will require some joined-up thinking. But the potential is there. Today, it’s possible to equip a home with a new generation of solar roof tile, which can be used to do more than charge an electric car’s battery; new storage batteries make the self-powered home a reality, even when the sun isn’t shining.
The appeal is easy to see. A newly built or restored home would no longer come with costly energy bills, and the family car could be powered for free.
For many drivers, their first glimpse of this sustainable vision will have come from Tesla, the California tech company founded by Elon Musk. It has cornered the electric car market in luxury, eco-friendly cars. But they come at a price few can afford – from more than £60,000, in the UK.
For all electric cars to enjoy widespread adoption around the world, more affordable models are needed. Honda is one of the car makers working on fulfilling that need.
From 2019, it will introduce a new, small electric car that promises to bring sustainable motoring to drivers.
The Honda Urban EV Concept was first shown as a concept car – a tantalising glimpse of the future – at last autumn’s Frankfurt motor show, together with Honda’s Power Manager, a smart energy system that can store electricity to power a home or office, or even sell energy back to the grid.
The critics loved it. The Verge called it a ‘tiny heartbreaker’, and Top Gear said it is ‘wonderfully cutesy’. Six months later, Honda’s announcement that it would put a version of the concept car into production was met with universal acclaim.
At the 2018 Car Design Award honours, held in Italy, a panel of 12 j
udges awarded Honda’s EV proposal the title of Best Concept Car. Jurors said it brings ‘a much-needed sense of personality to the EV space.’
“Our Urban EV Concept is the true representation of Honda’s ‘We make it simple’ design philosophy, which aims to make cars closer to people’s hearts,” said Makoto Iwaki, Honda R&D Executive Creative Director.
The future electric car won’t just be adorable to look at. It will be clever, too. When it goes on sale, next year, it will be built on a new platform purpose-designed for battery-powered vehicles. Details of its battery, driving range, and charging times are still to be announced, but Iwaki promises it will ‘be easy to access, fun to drive, and make everyday life more fulfilled and joyful.’
It could also mean an end to visits to the petrol station. For many drivers, that is a silent revolution they’d like to be part of.