LA Auto Show: Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT)

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 30, 2010

American Honda Motor is presenting at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show its new Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) design study model. P-NUT is essentially a concept for a futuristic ultra-compact and sophisticated city coupe. Featuring a small "footprint," a center driving position configuration and a rear powertrain layout, P-NUT is perfect for navigating urban areas.

P-NUT features an exterior marked by dynamic lines that smoothly flow from the front and spanning outward towards the rear. This gives P-NUT an exterior that is not only sleek and dynamic but also provides for a roomy open interior with superb visibility.

Intriguingly, this exterior styling for P-NUT does not only explore a future path for premium sophistication, it also demonstrates how Honda could create a balance between the need for an aerodynamic appearance and the need for optimal interior space.

Interestingly, the interior layout and the rear powertrain design of P-NUT are a major factor to the overall shape of its exterior. The interior features a layout in which the center driving position is flanked by two rear seats, thereby allowing for generous legroom for all occupants.

To compare, P-NUT – with an exterior footprint akin to a micro car -- offers legroom that is as generous as that on a mid-sized sedan. Moreover, the rear seats can be folded up and out of the way to give way for more storage room. To allow for an optimal interior room, the windshield functions as a heads-up display for the navigation system and the back-up camera.

On the other hand, P-NUT features a modular rear engine bay that is marked on the exterior by blue composite material and designed to house different propulsion systems like a small displacement combustion engine, a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain, or a battery-electric powertrain.

P-NUT was developed in Los Angeles by the Advanced Design Studio of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. Since 1975, Honda R&D Americas has been growing its capabilities, which now include all aspects of new vehicle research, design and development.

In fact, it played a role in a number of recent Honda-brand products like the Civic Coupe, Civic Si Coupe, Element, Pilot and Ridgeline. Dave Marek, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas, remarked that P-NUT explores the packaging and design potential for a vehicle that is conceived to focus on urban lifestyle, noting that a new generation of individuals is beginning to see the advantages in urban centers that offer convenient access to business, entertainment and social opportunities.

Marek remarked that P-NUT exterior and interior designers aimed to explore the possibility of a new type of small-segment-category vehicle that counters the objections for current micro-car designs. He added that while P-NUT introduces function-oriented concepts, it also demonstrates that small cars need not compromise on style or amenities.

Press Release

Honda 'Personal-Neo Urban Transport' Concept Demonstrates Potential for Ultra-compact City-focused Vehicle

The Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) design study model demonstrates a futuristic concept for an ultra-compact and sophisticated city coupe, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Conceived around a small "footprint" for maximum convenience in tight urban settings, the packaging concept integrates a center driving position configuration and a rear powertrain layout. The exterior styling leverages crisp angles with dynamic flowing lines that originate from the front of the vehicle and span outward toward the rear. The end result is a sleek and aggressive exterior that also allows for a spacious and open interior with excellent visibility.

"A new generation is discovering the benefits of living in urban centers that provide convenient access to business, entertainment and social opportunities," said Dave Marek, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "The Personal-Neo Urban Transport concept explores the packaging and design potential for a vehicle conceived exclusively around the city lifestyle."

The exterior styling is intended to capture a future direction for premium sophistication while balancing the need for maximum interior space and an aerodynamic appearance. The interior layout, in conjunction with the rear powertrain design, contributes prominently to the exterior's overall shape.

The layout of the interior space, with its center driving position flanked by two rear seats, provides generous legroom for all occupants, roughly the equivalent of a mid-sized sedan in a vehicle that has an exterior footprint similar to a micro car. Interior functionality is increased by rear seating areas that fold up and out of the way to increase storage capacity. The windshield serves as a heads-up display for the navigation system and the back-up camera.

The modular rear engine bay, depicted on the exterior by blue composite material, is designed to accommodate a wide variety of potential propulsion technologies including a conventional small displacement internal combustion engine, a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain, or a battery-electric powertrain.

"The objective of the exterior and interior designers was to explore the potential for a new type of small-segment-category vehicle that overcomes many of the objections for existing micro-car designs," said Marek. "While the Honda P-NUT concept introduces function-oriented concepts, it also shows that small cars don't have to compromise on style or amenities."

The Advanced Design Studio of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in Los Angeles developed the P-NUT design study model. Honda R&D Americas began its operations in California in 1975 with local market research activities and has steadily grown its capabilities over the past 33 years to include all aspects of new vehicle research, design and development. Recent Honda-brand efforts include trend-setting products such as the Pilot, Ridgeline, Element, Civic Coupe and Civic Si Coupe.

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