Home / SPORTS / Honda Sports EV concept a blast from the past – but does it have a future?

Honda Sports EV concept a blast from the past – but does it have a future?

Rob Maetzig/Stuff

The two Honda electric concepts on display at Tokyo – left, the Sports EV, and right, the Urban EV.

From the company that built Japan’s first-ever production sports car – comes what could be the world’s first-ever production pure electric sports car.

If it does happen, the occasion will represent a full circle of sports car development for Honda, a back to the future for the company that way back in 1963 launched the S500, the pretty little open-topped two seater that was a Japanese representation of famous British two-seaters of the time.

Not only that, but the new EV sports car looks rather like that car from the 1960s, too.

This is Honda's first production car, the S500 roadster first launched in 1963.

Rob Maetzig/Stuff

This is Honda’s first production car, the S500 roadster first launched in 1963.

Two months ago Honda caused a stir at the Frankfurt Motor Show when it unveiled the Urban EV Concept, a lovely little hatchback that pays homage to the success of the Honda Civic hatch of the 1970s.

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The retrospective-looking Sports EV Concept pays homage to the S500.

Rob Maetzig/Stuff

The retrospective-looking Sports EV Concept pays homage to the S500.

Honda caused a stir again at the Tokyo Motor Show when it unveiled the Sports EV Concept on Wednesday, a very cute  two-door coupe built on the same platform as the Urban EV, and which pays homage to the S500 and other S models since.

At Tokyo, Honda president and CEO Takahiro Hachigo confirmed that the Urban EV will go into production and will be launched in Europe in 2019 and Japan a year later.

But there was no such word on the Sports EV. The covers were simply whipped off the car in what was its world premiere, and Hachigo told journalists the concept was a new proposal from Honda, a company that – regardless of the requirements of the times – wants to provide its customers with the joy of driving.

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo, left, pictured with Oceania and Asia regional operations chief officer Shinji Aoyama, won't ...

Rob Maetzig/Stuff

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo, left, pictured with Oceania and Asia regional operations chief officer Shinji Aoyama, won’t say if the little sports car will be built.

“Honda will always research and develop new technologies and products for the joy of helping people and for the joy of driving – and Honda will continue offering products that go beyond the expectations of our customers,” he added.

At a media conference at Honda headquarters in downtown Tokyo the following day, Hachigo still wouldn’t say whether or not the Sports EV Concept will go into production. At least we think that’s what he wouldn’t say.

“In our efforts to build cars for the joy of driving, naturally that includes sports cars,” he said. “There was a time a short while ago that Honda discontinued making them – but now we are back, with the new-generation NSX and Civic Type-R.

The Honda Urban EV Concept will go into production.

Rob Maetzig/Stuff

The Honda Urban EV Concept will go into production.

“So our No 1 priority now is to continue with the sports models just launched. But will there be an increase in sports models? Honda is capable of going ahead with development of further models, but the big question is whether they would sell.

“This makes the decision-making difficult – but if the voice is loud enough, then we will go ahead and do it.”

So was Hachigo-san hinting that if sufficient people are impressed by the retro-but-new Sports EV Concept with its standout electric technology and beautifully retrospective lines, then it will be built?

We hope so. The concept, which Honda says is a latest interpretation of next-generation sports car design, is really striking. It features round LED headlights, a scooped bonnet, coupe-like sloped roofline, and square LED tail lights.

There’s no word on what’s actually under the bonnet, but it is built on the same dedicated EV platform as the one used for the Urban EV Concept. When that vehicle was unveiled at Frankfurt it was promised it will feature a lightweight high-density battery pack, and a potential range of more than 200km. It will also have the ability to transfer energy to and from the vehicle.

Prior to the media days at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, a contingent of journalists from Asia and Oceania spent a day at Honda’s Twin Ring Motegi motorsport facility, which among other attractions has a special motoring museum called the Honda Collection Hall.

Taking pride of place in that museum is an original S500, a car that looks as pretty now as it did when it was first launched 54 years ago.

As Honda moves into the electric age with its strategy of electrifying two-thirds of its vehicle lineup by 2030, it makes sense it will include a fully-electric sports car in that selection. Here’s hoping it will be that striking little Sports EV Concept.


 – Stuff


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