The Honda E Prototype is the electric car Apple should have come out with

Urban, electric, design-led, and minimalist yet advanced. This is the car that Apple should have released, but its front end wears a Honda emblem. Called E Prototype, it made its debut as a close-to-production concept during the 2019 Geneva Auto Show, and it will reach showrooms in select markets before the end of the year.

The E Prototype accurately previews the production version of the friendly-faced Urban EV concept that turned every head — and melted every heart — at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show. Honda envisions it as a small, affordable electric car that feels right at home in the city. Think of it as a zero-emissions alternative to the Fiat 500. Its design has evolved over the past two years, but it hasn’t changed drastically. It still wears a retro-inspired front end reminiscent of the 360 and the 600, two of the Japanese company’s very first cars. The concept’s round LED headlights and back-lit Honda emblem have made the transition from concept to production, too.

Stylists added a set of rear doors in the name of practicality, but they concealed the handles in the C-pillars to keep the two-door look. The photos confirm the E Prototype will be available with cameras in lieu of door mirrors. This forward-looking technology remains illegal in the United States, which is why Audi’s electric E-Tron SUV will go on sale here with standard mirrors, but the new tech is allowed in Europe and in Japan. We expect American regulators will approve the cameras in the not-too-distant future.

The interior is a tech lover’s dream come true. Designers replaced the analog instrument cluster with a tablet-like screen that provides key information about the car and its surroundings in high resolution. It’s connected to two additional, driver-configurable screens that replace a vast majority of the buttons normally found on the dashboard and on the center console. The result is a clean, minimalist cockpit that looks intuitive to use. The company explained it aimed to make the concept’s interior feel lounge-like by giving it a flat floor — which is made possible by the battery pack — and sofa-like fabric on the seats.

The E Prototype rides on a brand-new platform developed specifically for electric cars. Technical details are few and far between, but Honda promises up to 124 miles of driving range, and a fast-charging system that delivers an 80-percent charge in 30 minutes. An electric motor mounted over the rear axles draws electricity from the battery pack under the floor and zaps the rear wheels with it.

It’s difficult to say precisely when the Honda E Prototype will reach showrooms because the model we saw in Geneva is a close-to-production prototype; in other words, development work is ongoing. Pricing and availability will be released in the coming months. What’s certain is that the E Prototype — a name that will not be retained for the production model — will not be sold in the United States, but it hopefully sheds valuable insight into the electric cars Honda will sell here after the turn of the decade.

Updated February 27, 2019: Added full information about the Honda E prototype.


The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second station wagon will arrive in 2020

The Mission E Cross Turismo concept Porsche unveiled during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show will morph into a production model tentatively named Taycan Cross Turismo. This 600-horsepower electric station wagon will arrive in showrooms by 2021.

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.