Good Oil: Retro revolution alive inside Honda Urban EV
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We glumly reported a few weeks back that the latest images of Honda’s sensational wee Urban EV Concept suggested the car was to lose much of the diminutive retro styling that made it such a sensation at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show.
More recent pre-production pics showed the disguised-but-almost-ready-for-manufacture version of the car to be a bit dumpier, a bit less angular and, in general, just a bit blander looking than the old-school aesthetic that the original concept car teased.
Without any official shots, the jury remains out on the Urban EV’s exterior styling. Fingers are crossed that the camouflage that test mules have been dressed in for real-world outings is so effective as to completely cheat what lies beneath.
But — and speaking of what lies beneath — a “close-to-production” sketch of the Urban EV’s dashboard has surfaced. It promises much retro-tastic design detail. And a wooden shelf.
The final version of Honda’s all-electric city car will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show next month. But an image of a screen-dominated cockpit with a decidedly thin steering wheel reignited hopes of cheeky nods throughout the car to that first-generation Civic, which it reminded us so strongly of when first revealed.
The interior is unlike anything else in the Honda family at present and consists of a series of screens side by side along the dash. The screens at left and right are for the cameras proposed to replace wing mirrors.
Underneath this, a minimalist wooden shelf-style panel appears to protrude along the upperside of the dashboard. Again, very Honda Civic EB2.
Oh, and one final nugget. The render of the car in the “percentage-of-charge” graphic on one of the screens appears to feature the sharp-edged silhouette of the original concept.
Maybe the production version won’t be as bulky as those spy shots suggest. Or maybe any car looks cool with a glowing green battery pack and aggressive 22in cartoon wheels.
Life’s a beach for VW’s next electric crowd-pleaser
In many ways, it comes as no surprise that Volkswagen has chosen to showcase a concept paying homage to the iconic Meyers Manx beach buggy of the 1960s as part of the carmaker’s I.D. sub-brand.
Volkswagen hasn’t been too proud to mine its lengthy history for the I.D. electric range, with passenger and commercial concept versions of I.D. vehicles drawing heavy stylistic influence from the Kombi van.
If it didn’t have a (admittedly now-cancelled) Beetle already, a plug-in BEV concept version of one would have seemed just as tempting a road to travel down, we’re sure.
So, yes, even though the Meyers Manx beach buggy wasn’t a Volkswagen creation (the original mid-60s open-topped fibreglass unibody “dune buggy” was designed and built by Californian engineer and surfer dude Bruce Meyers), it seems a logical step to add it to the I.D. concept stable.
But, um. An electric car that is, by nature, destined to drive near to, if not occasionally in, saltwater? How well sealed are those lithium ion batteries going to be, Volkswagen?
The computerised images released thus far indicate the beach buggy concept will stick closely to the original design, with perhaps only a little modernisation evident in the way the bodyshell appears to offer much better rollover protection from its thick A and B pillars than the skinny hoops kit-car builders could add to the original.
No flat-four engine hanging out the back either, of course; the concept is built on the same scaleable MEB platform as Volkswagen’s other electric I.D. motor-show-baiting offerings, showcasing old-school cool with an all-new electric heart.
What’s next Volkswagen? An I.D. Schwimmwagen?
F1 livery of the season goes to ... Haas?
It is probably 99 per cent to do with the colour combination, but here at The Good Oil, back-marker Haas (or Rich Energy Haas F1 Team, to give its full 2019 season name) has come up with a podium finisher in terms of the team’s VF-19 race car livery.
A bit like Gulf Oil’s blue-and-orange scheme, running black and gold together evokes plenty of history when it comes to open-wheel racing; synonymous with Lotus and its “it was a very different time” John Player Special sponsorship through the 1970s and 80s, Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti and Ayrton Senna all drove black-and-gold cars at some point in their careers.
The sticker pack made a brief return in the early 2010s, just before Team Lotus evolved into Renault.
Now Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s drivers are set to rekindle a bit of history for the 2019 season. And those drivers are? Well, there’s ... oh, you know, old whatshisname. Er. One is definitely from France. We think. The other one might be called Kevin ...