Ohayou gozaimasu! We are reporting live from the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, which returns to Tokyo proper after 24 years. The venue for this year’s show is the Tokyo Big Sight, just across the Rainbow Bridge in Odaiba, a change from the familiar Makuhari Messe. The first stop for this writer was Honda’s packed press conference, where Honda president and CEO Takanobu Ito unveiled some interesting machines and missions.
The main car under wraps was this – the Honda EV-STER concept. As its name suggests, the EV-STER is an electric powered sports car, one that is also rear wheel driven, topless and a two seater.
If those points remind you of the S2000, that’s intentional. But today’s world is different from the one where the S2000 was born into – environmental concerns means that battery power is in, and high revving 9,000 rpm VTEC power is out.
The EV-STER is compact, measuring only 3,570 mm long and 1,500 mm wide. A large portion of the length is taken up by the 2,325 mm wheelbase, pushing the wheels far to each corner.
To give you an idea, the EV-STER is shorter than a Lotus Elise, but has an identical wheelbase with the iconic Brit. The adoption of carbon materials means that it should be lightweight too, although no figure is given.
Honda says that lightness also contributes to the car’s performance and approximate range of 160 km per charge in the JC08 mode. The electric motor is powered by a 10 kWh lithium ion battery with 58 kW of max output. This will be good enough for a 160 km/h top speed and 0-60 km/h acceleration in five seconds. Charging time is under three hours with 200V and under six hours for 100V.
The cozy two-seat cabin (driver’s seat is “highlighted”) doesn’t have a steering wheel, but experimental twin-lever steering, joystick style. Don’t take that too seriously, or the high tech displays, for this is more of a design exercise that shows Honda’s intent to reintroduce sporty into the mix, after solely focusing on green for quite some time.
Our gallery also includes exclusive pics from a pre-show briefing where we got to see a clay model of the EV-STER, which will give you a better 360-degree view of the car. Don’t write it off as a flight of fancy, as some did with the CR-Z concept car of 2009 – this could well be “the new S2000″!