The car is slightly shorter than a Jazz and about 100 mm higher than a Mini. Honda has said that it will probably have an official range of around 125 miles, with fast load capacity to reach 80% load in 30 minutes.

The e-prototype is built on a new platform designed for electric cars in segments A and B, with underfloor batteries produced by Panasonic that are similar to those used in the U.S. market for Accord plug-in hybrids. The rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels, which use torque vectoring to provide smoother response and better handling in tight curves.

Although the range of the e prototype is substantially less than that offered by rival electric vehicles, such as the 282-mile Kia e-Niro or the 193-mile BMW i3, Hitomi said it was necessary to keep the batteries small to fulfill its role as a city car.

“We believe the range is sufficient for this segment of the car,” Hitomi said. “Some potential customers may not be satisfied, but if you think of a wider range and a larger battery, this has drawbacks in terms of packaging. Its a balance.

The prototype and includes cameras instead of rear-view mirrors, which help improve aerodynamic efficiency. There are also flush door handles and the loading port is mounted in the center of the hood.

The cockpit is dominated by two 12-inch touch screens, integrated into a wood-finished dashboard. The seats – including a two-seater bench at the rear – are covered with polyester, which, like the wood effect, is designed to make the interior look like a living room.

The e-prototype will be built in Japan and will go on sale in selected European markets by the end of 2019, with more to come in 2020. It will also be sold in Japan.

The company has not yet set the prices. Hitomi said it is “important” that the car is affordable, but added: “A low price is not always a guarantee of success. When you look at Apple products, theyre not cheap, but everyone wants to have them for their added value. We think its the same for the electric vehicle.

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