TOKYO – It’s not the S2000 successor everyone was hoping for, but Honda’s new Sports EV Concept combines hints of the iconic roadster with the futuristic style language of the Urban EV Concept introduced recently at the Frankfurt Auto Show. While the Frankfurt car throws back to Honda’s 1970s hatchbacks, the Sports EV draws on the early S600 and S800 two-seaters that competed in the 1960s. Slick and stylish, the Sports EV boasts enormous wheels, halo headlamps, illuminated fascia displays and pearly matte white paint all topped with a black glass roof.
It’s underpinned by the same dedicated platform as the Urban EV, but its lower, wider profile improves its centre of gravity, while projecting the functional style of a traditional sports car.
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The low-slung two-door features an all-electric powertrain, and showcases the artificial intelligence technology that will eventually make its way into Honda’s production vehicles.
While Honda didn’t provide many technical details, it appears the Sports EV will share its architecture and the same AI tech as the Urban EV – which CEO Takahiro Hachigo confirmed is slated for production in 2019. These include the Honda Automated Network Assistant, or “HANA”, an advanced communication system that is the next best thing to having a car that can actually feel. The AI “emotion engine” uses data gleaned from the driver’s past decisions to familiarize itself with their personality and emotions, then – depending on the driver’s mood – recommends music choices, navigation routes, and other basic tasks. Honda believes such interactive communication will build a stronger connection between car and driver.
While there was no concrete statement that the animé-inspired sports coupe with the “I, Robot” face will ever see production, Honda plans to electrify two-thirds of its global platform by 2030. Such a vehicle will make good on its claims of developing technology that will “realize the joy of driving, with a sense of unity with the car.”