Honda has unveiled what it believes is the next generation of sports cars at the Tokyo Motor Show. The Honda Sports EV is a concept model that the company says “combines EV performance and AI (artificial intelligence) inside a compact body with the aim to realize the joy of driving.”
After much hype about the Tokyo Motor Show‘s return to Japanese sporting greats, the event has been disappointing. Neither Toyota or Nissan unveiled the rumored Supra or Z. But when we got to the Honda booth to await the press conference, a slinky shape underneath a sheet hinted at something more promising.
A few minutes later, the wraps came off the Sports EV, a low and sleek coupe reminiscent of the original Honda S600 and S800 hardtops. Some of our readers following the live updates on our Instagram page thought it also looked like a Toyota 2000GT, thanks to a front grille graphic that incorporates the headlights into the nose. Remember, however, that the original Honda S2000 concept, the SSM, also did the same thing with its headlights before moving them to a more traditional location on the production version.
Honda President Takahiro Hachigo reiterated his statement that a version of the Urban EV Concept would be produced and go on sale by 2020, first in Europe and then in Japan. He also said that the Sports EV would ride on largely the same platform.
Not much info was given in the way of specs, so we’ll just have to judge the car based on design. We had three JNC staff present at the show, and opinions were split. Australian Editor Kevin San found it a bit underwhelming, noting that the proportions were a bit off. “The front looks nose-heavy, while the back drops off very abruptly,” he said. “However, it’s a good effort.”
Our Senior Editor Dave Yuan had a different take. “It evokes the look and feel of the original S-Series Coupes. It’s low and flat with a rear and roofline that’s squared off like the S600 and S800 hardtops. It’s a very clean design, and recalls the original but it’s not a caricature,” he argued. “I like that it’s a coupe, because I always like coupes over convertibles.
However, Dave’s positive take isn’t just limited to its looks. “It’s important for someone to make electric sports cars,” he explained. “Electrification is inevitable. It’s going to happen. For sports cars to survive and for driving to not suck, there has to be an affordable electric sports car.”
“It will happen, it’s just a matter of who does it first,” Dave continued. “The niche of electric sports car needs to be filled, and it might as well be Honda who does it first.”