Don’t expect to see the Honda e if you’re outside Europe or Japan. According to the Japanese automaker, the all-electric hatchback will only be sold in those markets, and that it has no plans to market the car in other regions, including North America and China.

Even in its intended markets, the compact EV won’t be peppering the streets. Honda says it is expecting sales of only around 10,000 units in Europe and 1,000 units in Japan annually. The car was released in Europe earlier this month, and domestic sales are set to begin in late October. The company added that it will also introduce the model into its car-sharing fleet in Japan, according to Reuters.

The automaker says it isn’t competing with the likes of Tesla and other automakers, who are focusing on long driving ranges on larger offerings such as SUVs. The little e is very much targeted as a city car, albeit an upmarket one, as dictated by its operating range on a single charge, which is around 220 km.

High battery costs have kept EVs at the premium end of the car market, and so the idea was to keep costs low and maintain a strong urban focus. “Most EVs use large capacity batteries, but often, much of that capacity goes unused during city driving. We question whether larger vehicles are appropriate for urban areas, and believe that smaller is a better option for cities,” Honda e chief engineer Tomofumi Ichinose told reporters earlier this week.

The skew towards city use carries over to the dynamic response of the car. Ichinose said Honda engineers had prioritised accurate and sharp handling to enable easy u-turns in narrow streets, while side mirrors have been replaced with interior displays – placed on the sides of the car’s dual 12.3-inch digital displays – to avoid bumps and scrapes during parking.

The Honda e is available in two output versions, a 100 kW (136 PS) and a 113 kW (154 PS), both with 315 Nm. In Germany, pricing for the EV starts from 29,470 euros (RM145,460) for the 100 kW version, while the 113 kW model costs 32,470 euros (RM160,268).

GALLERY: Honda e production version at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show