2007 Honda Small Hybrid Sports Concept

This twin-door concept is the first hybrid model developed by Honda's European R&D design studio in Offenbach, Germany. Honda plans to introduce the production version of the Small Hybrid Sports Concept (SHSC) in 2009 and is aiming for global sales of 200,00 units per year.

Aerodynamics rules the appearance of this concept car. It's fastback body style and covered rear wheels yields a record setting 0.25 Cd (drag co-efficient). It's nose and tail are surprisingly upright and square. A slim row of LED lights outline the SHSC's hood line and are followed by an acrylic nose piece similar to the European Honda Civic, giving the front-end the look of an hammerhead shark. The one-piece glass roof sweeps down into the fastback profile. Twenty-inch alloy wheel arches, but the 165mm tires that wrap them speak of the cars efficient nature.

The SHSC is built from a small-car platform, as opposed to a unique aluminium space frame chassis. Its architecture, therefore, could be derived from the European Civic; it is within 0.2 inches in width of that model. It has a four cylinder IMA engine mated to a CVT gearbox, which could potentially be the same powertrain as the Honda Civic Hybrid. Well, the I-4 IMA powertrain provides higher output than the Insight ever enjoyed, at 110 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque combined, which in a lightweight package could be pretty quick.

Detailed Design of 2007 Honda Small Hybrid Sports Concept Car -

1. The all-glass bubble top dramatically sweeps from the windshield base to the vertical back light, its support structure disguised by blackout panels.

2. The nose shaped hints of single seater design, as do the two struts dividing the wide grille into 3 parts. Below the center grille the surface rolls under but at the edges it's vertical.

3. The nicest and most original styling touch is the apparently pointed A-pillar which, in fact, is of normal thickness and the strength beneath the surface.

4. A broad shoulder behind the door opening widens as the top tapers inward, giving an impression of strength and solidity to the overall form.

5. Presumably, this section serves the radiator and the AC condenser but outer portions seem to be partially blanked off.

6. LED headlamps on this concept car could really work or are just for show is an open question.

7. The undulating fender profile begins at te front with a knife-sharp crease, which softens through thedoor, then reacquires hardness at the door handle.

8. Nominally vertical, the second part of the backlight is complex, mixing concave and convex surfaces that cover the rear LED lamps.

9. A sharp cut-off between the downward sloping roof and the tail panel is very effective, aerodynamically, and suggests that the car is rear-wheel drive. It's not, though.

10. The good doctor Wunibald Kamm would have been delighted at the sharp breaks between the top and the sides of the little Honda, reducing drag and wake turbulence.

11. Twenty-inch wheels are huge relative to this very small car and their design is decidedly too brutal for the refined surfaces of the Hybrid Sport's body.

To assure a sporty It remains only a two-seater and there still isn't a lot of luggage space. B t for commuting or even for highway use, two seats are plenty and we should all learn to travel light because it saves fuel.look and low rolling resistance, tires are 165/60 section on twenty-inch wheels. This little trick from Honda really does reduce drag by reattached air flow behind the wheel house openings. It looks good, too.

A single piece of laminated glass serves as the windshield, the roof and the backlight, with an added concave vertical glass panel at the back that provides a little more rearward visibility and acts as a fairing for the LED lamps. It's hard to imagine that the row of LEDs along the top of the grille will adequately illuminate the highway, but lamp manufacturers have been able to accomplish virtual miracles in recent years and so perhaps they could.

This car may never go into production, but it should. And it ought to be sold everywhere as a lesson to less adventuresome car builders. It's a lovely design that is full of innovative ideas.

(Posted in response to "YC5 Unleashed" by Ankit Gandhi and a comment by Dion Antao on his love for Honda cars.)

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