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First Look: Honda EV-Ster

Japanese maker provides tantalizing hint of what it may have coming.

by on Nov.30, 2011

Honda's electric sports car concept, the EV-Ster.

It’s just a concept.  It’s just a concept. That, at least, is what Honda is officially calling the EV-Ster, the show car making its debut at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show.  But you certainly should anticipate seeing some of the basic technology under its sexy hood reaching market in the not very distant future, company officials broadly hint.

The Honda news conference in Tokyo disappointed some who had been hoping to see a long-anticipated revival of the maker’s extreme NSX sports car.  That will likely have to wait until the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

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If anything, the EV-Ster is a bit closer to the old Honda S2000, a more modest and affordable sports car that would pick up on the Honda brand’s historical emphasis on performance.

The goal was to create a look that expresses speediness at the same time as sustainable mobility,” said Honda design exec Ichiro Tobisawa.

The EV-Ster uses a 10 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

With its distinctive wedge shape, open roof and double-bubble deck lid, the EV-Ster looks fast – though the performance numbers aren’t all that impressive, he 2-seater launching from 0 to 60 kph (37.5 mph) in 5.0 seconds, according to Honda, with its top speed rated at 100 mph.

The EV-Ster features a 78-horsepower motor electric motor drawing power from a 10 kilowatt lithium-ion battery.  That’s about 60% the size of the battery used in the clearly much heavier Chevrolet Volt, so in the EV-Ster Honda claims that would be enough to yield a range of 100 miles, with full charging in three hours using a high-amp, 220-volt circuit.

The wheelbase of the show car is about 3 inches shorter than the old S2000, but by moving the wheels to the corners the overall length comes in about 20 inches shorter than the retired sports car.

The EV-Ster gets a modest 78 hp out of its electric motor, with a top speed of 100 mph.

An early pioneer in basic hybrid technology, Honda has taken a relatively cautious approach to more advanced electric propulsion, though it introduced its first pure battery-electric vehicle, the Fit EV, at the recent L.A. Auto Show.

Could a pure BEV sports car follow?  In an interview following the Honda news conference, CEO Takanobu Ito cautioned that EV technology would be hard-pressed to deliver real sports car performance.  He clearly remains more impressed by conventional gas power – or hybrid systems.

Like the technology the maker offered a sneak peak at earlier in the week.

Think of the EV-Ster as the spiritual successor to the old Honda S2000.

Honda is developing a plug-in hybrid version of its Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive, or SH-AWD, driveline.  Company officials all but confirmed it will make it into production in a future Acura model.  The technology would be distinguished by using a driveline not unlike that in the Chevrolet Volt.  A modest-sized V-6 would primarily serve as a generator, power going to a small electric motor driving the front wheels and a pair of larger motors for the rear axle.

By using one on each wheel, the system would permit significant torque vectoring to deliver an aggressive sports car-like ride. We’ll be posting more on that system soon.


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