U.S. sales are still up in the air.
The retro-inspired Urban EV concept (pictured) Honda introduced last month at the Frankfurt Auto Show has already been approved for production. The city-friendly model will hit the streets no later than 2019.
"This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019," said Honda president Takahiro Hachigo in a recent interview with British magazine Autocar.
Hachigo hinted the Urban EV will make the transition from a concept car to a production car with only minor visual tweaks -- at least when viewed from the outside. The modifications will be largely limited to less futuristic-looking wheels, thicker A-pillars (a concession made in the name of safety regulations), and standard mirrors in lieu of fender-mounted cameras.
We expect to see more changes inside the car. The screens integrated into the door panels and the wide screen that sits on top of the dash most likely won't make the jump from concept to production for cost reasons. And, while the concept seats four, the production model will offer space for five passengers.
Technical specifications haven't been announced yet. All we know is the production Urban EV will ride on a brand-new modular platform that will underpin several electric cars in the coming years. That suggests the Sport EV concept shown last week in Tokyo could reach production, too.
Autocar has learned the Urban EV will go on sale in Europe before making landfall in its home country of Japan. What remains to be seen is whether Honda will sell the car in the United States, or whether it will decide not to due to the model's tiny size.
Photos by Ronan Glon.