Tokyo Motor Show 2011: Honda EV-STER rethinks the electric roadster

Justin Hyde

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The departure of the Tesla Roadster hasn’t sparked a surge of new two-seat electric roadsters — especially since Tesla only made 2,500 of the battery-operated cars in two years. Honda could fill that gap with this concept: the EV-Ster, an electric runabout. But its best function might be to sit in Honda's design studios as a trophy.

Reminiscent of the Honda Beat minicar from the company’s glory years, the electric-powered EV-Ster would only see Teslas from the rear; Honda quoted a zero-to-37 mph time of 5 seconds, suggesting that getting to 60 mph might be an exercise in clock watching. Instead, Honda says the rear-wheel-drive EV-Ster would emphasize handling, with adjustable suspension and driving responses and a joystick-like steering wheel.

The biggest contribution the EV-Ster could make to Honda would be in design; after admitting that its new Civic redesign left American buyers cold and still stung by the reception of the hunchback Crosstour, Honda needs an injection of style.