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Honda E: The Retro, Rear-Wheel Drive EV That America Needs

With today’s highly globalized auto industry, it’s increasingly hard to find cool and exciting cars that are sold in one part of the world but not the other, but there are still exceptions to this and Honda’s upcoming Honda E electric car is one of them.

Currently being shown in near production-ready prototype form, the Honda E will go on sale in Europe and other markets late this year as an all-electric city car, but it’s much more than the just Honda’s first real attempt to break into the EV market.

Honda e Protoype 2019

Small and Fun

For Honda, the E represents the company’s new dedicated electric car platform, and that means the car is unburdened by the restraints of a modified internal combustion platform. For starters, it's rear motor and rear-wheel drive, which combined with its ultra compact size makes it a lot more fun to drive than your typical economy car—and much different from the front-wheel drive cars that Honda is known for.

In terms of power, the E’s 148hp might not set the world afire, but its 221 lb-ft of electric torque make the car rather sprightly to drive, and when combined with its 50:50 weight distribution, you have the recipe for autocross excellence.

Honda e Prototype 2019

Retro Styling

That’s before you get to the E’s styling, which takes a lot of inspiration from the first generation Honda Civic of the 1970s and has an overall retro-minimal, if slightly cute, character to it.

Rear of Honda e Prototype

The same goes for the interior, which takes full advantage of a dedicated EV platform with its interesting mix of ultra modern and retro elements that stands out from the busy layouts found in many cars.

Honda e Prototype 2019 Interior

No Plans for the U.S. Market

Unfortunately for as interesting as the E is, Honda currently has no plans to bring the car to the American market. One would imagine this is due to the car’s small size and also because it’s range of 124 miles may be fine for an urban runabout or commuter car but falls far behind most current and upcoming EVs.

Honda e Prototype charging

So yes, while it’s fair to say a small electric hatchback isn’t going to be the path to mainstream success in America, the little Honda has exactly the sort of personality and appeal that electric cars need if they are to be more than transportation appliances.

Aside from Tesla, there are currently few EVs available that people are genuinely excited about, and the Honda E has so far generated the kind of interest the EV market needs, especially when you consider it’s relatively affordable price and Honda’s strong reputation in America. Just check out how cool it looked out on the Goodwood Hillclimb earlier this month.

Since the E is an important car for Honda, it would be a shame to see this one not offered to one of the world’s biggest and most important automobile markets. As a potential enthusiast car it’s a very enticing little machine to say the least. Here’s hoping the higher ups at Honda have a change of heart and send this thing stateside.

Speaking of Honda and retro, check out this selection obscure Hondas from the 1990s.

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