If you’ve been following along with us this week, then you know the drill. We have two major motor shows to cover – the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and 2013 LA Motor Show – and only one week to do so. Today, we’re looking at Honda and the new cars and concepts they’ve unveiled at this week’s automotive events.
No sense wasting time on an introduction…. Let’s jump right in:
Honda MC-β Concept (Tokyo Motor Show)
If this car looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve already seen the Renault Twizy, Nissan Mobility Concept, or Honda’s own Micro Commuter from 2012. Or maybe it could even evoke the three-wheeled Toyota i-Road we saw earlier this year.
The cars listed above and the Honda MC-β Concept all fit in the same category – they’re city-friendly EV’s with short range and high convenience.
The Honda MC-β (Micro Commuter Beta) Concept can seat two adults with an “offset seat layout”, which apparently still offers enough utility space for some storage. However, the main focus of the vehicle is ease of handling and nimble performance across a diverse array of road conditions, as one might expect to meet in a bustling city. More specifically, the vehicle is targeted towards Japanese and European drivers who’ve set a precedent interest in these types of vehicles.
Mechanically, the Honda MC-β is more or less an electric motorcycle on four wheels. In fact, if it goes to production, it will be classified in Europe’s L7 category which is reserved for vehicles 400kg or less – almost exclusively motorcycles. It achieves this light weight with pipe-based construction beneath a boldly designed plastic panel. Under the hood (so to speak) you’ll find an AC100V/AC200V charging system that’s been developed to achieve a shorter overall charging time.
Honda FCEV Concept (LA Motor Show)
If you thought the Honda Micro Commuter Beta Concept looked futuristic, wait until you see this.
Across the Pacific, this was the primary showcase of Honda’s booth at the 2013 LA Motor Show. And what a showstopper it is.
Obviously, it’s safe to say that whatever hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle Honda does launch in 2015 won’t look anything like this, but we still appreciate the design. It lets us know that, deep down, Honda does have the chops to make a slick-looking sports car.
Moving past the design (no easy task), the mechanical goal of the FCEV Concept compared to its predecessor – the Honda FCX Clarity – is more power output and a higher driving range, all with a lower refueling time. In short, it should be more fun and more convenient to drive.
Despite all these improvements, the fuel-cell stacks in the FCEV are actually 33% smaller than those in the FCX, which should theoretically allow for a more economical production model.
Either way, we’ll reiterate that this is all conceptual at this point. What’s clear is that Honda intends to contest Toyota’s claim on the hydrogen fuel-cell market.
Honda S660 Concept (Tokyo Motor Show)
Here we go – the Honda S660 Concept is much easier to evaluate. What we have here is a new Japanese kei car, likely a successor to the Beat. Strangely, Honda made very little effort to tell us anything about the S660 roadster, so we don’t really have that much to say. All we know is that this will likely be a JDM-only car, although it will for sure make it to Japanese dealerships in 2015. So, good news for some of you, at least.
Honda Vezel Concept
Lastly, we have yet another rival to the ever-progressive Nissan Juke. The Vezel Concept is a small compact crossover that apparently “belongs to a new category of automobiles fusing multifaceted values at a high level.” Whatever that means.
Basically, here’s the deal – Honda, like many other automakers, has realized that there is a segment of customers that want something smaller than a normal SUV… In Honda’s case, that would be the CR-V. The problem is that ‘something’ doesn’t exist in Honda’s lineup. So, the Vezel Concept is to be the Japanese brand’s attempt at capturing some of that market, and what you see above is actually very close to production. In fact, it will go on sale in Japan next month, and it will likely make it into the US and Europe sometime next year.
Beyond that, all we know is that the Honda Vezel Concept will offer a hybrid option for fuel-conscious buyers. But, we should know more when the car officially hits dealerships next month.
Well, there you have it – the most newsworthy concepts and cars from Honda’s Tokyo and LA Motor Show booths. Not quite as exciting as Subaru’s lineup we looked at yesterday, at least in this writer’s opinion, but it’s hard to imagine being disappointed with any production cars born from the concepts we’ve seen here… The same can’t be said about Subaru’s.
Until next time, thanks for reading!