CONCEPT Cars can always be guaranteed to capture the attention.
Think back to the London Motor Shows of the 1960s and 70s where manufacturers produced visions of the future with flying cars and space age technology.
Flying cars are still something of a pipe dream – although they do exist – but we’ve certainly got plenty of space-age technology.
The modern car has more computing ability than the first Apollo moon landing, a scary thought.
Things have moved on over the years. Concept cars still provide a glimpse into the future, although this is more likely these days to be a styling direction or a technology showcase.
Some still look fantastic and futuristic but never likely to see the light of day in terms of production, so why do manufacturers spend millions developing them?
Rather than a statement of intent, futuristic concepts are designed to show what a company could be possible a long way into the future – a bit like they did in the 60s and 70s.
Some of the radical styling may make it on to a new road-going car while some technology will also feed into future vehicles.
More likely a showcar, as they are more often called these days, is displayed to gauge customer reaction. The feedback from the press and public from motor shows around the world can help make a decision in the boardroom.
You can trace most of the cars on the road today back to their roots as a showcar, but not that many actually go from radical concept to road-going production.
Falling into this category is Honda’s Urban EV Concept which has gone into production as the Honda e and has been earning rave reviews – including being the winner of this year’s Business Motoring Small Car Award.
It’s Honda’s first mass-market, pure-electric car, high on technology and great city car. Honda e has everything to make city/town driving effortless.
There are many reasons why this is a clear award winner for SME users, with the car already having won numerous awards in the consumer motoring media.
Firstly, the technology on the car is second to none. With no fewer than five screens taking the width of the dashboard from side to side, the Honda e is the only car in its class to feature cameras instead of wing mirrors.
It’s also the only car to feature a virtual aquarium! It’s cutting-edge design and styling makes it a highly attractive proposition. With clean lines which retain the original concept feel.
The driving experience is both dynamic and fun with the power going directly to the rear wheels and pushing the car from a standstill to 62mph in eight seconds.
Honda e was designed with the urban environment in mind with a 126-mile range, a turning circle smaller than that of a London taxi and a reverse parking function at the touch of a button, making it perfect for city driving.
The Honda is a good example of how a vehicle can move out of the design studio and onto the road. However, big motor shows have been on the decline for a number of years and the global pandemic has not helped.
Manufacturers may have to find another way of engaging with the press and public to help them make their decisions.