Honda’s low-emission sportscar study model has been revealed at the British International Motor Show, at ExCeL, London.
The lightweight roadster design study displays one of Honda’s core engineering principles — to design stylish and exciting cars that are also environmentally responsible.
Named the OSM (for Open Study Model), the two-seater joins the confirmed-for-production CR-Z sports hybrid and FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell car on the Honda stand at the show.
“We’re trying to show that low emission cars can be attractive,” says Andreas Sittel, Project Leader for OSM. “There is no reason why a car that’s more environmentally friendly can’t look great too — and be sporty and fun to drive.”
The concept for the project was ‘Clean and Dynamic’ — and this direction was followed for both the exterior and interior design, ensuring a joined-up, consistent ‘language’ between the two. One example of this can be seen at the rear of the car, where the body actually extends into the cabin between the seats.
The exterior design is a balance of smooth, rounded curves and sharp lines to provide definition in key areas. The headlights are cleverly integrated into the front end, stretching from the nose to the top of the wheel arches to look more like a part of the original body.
Inside, this uninterrupted, fluid approach is continued, with long sweeping curves extending from both door panels to form a frame for the instrument display. The concept for the dashboard was to avoid creating the traditional block of ‘heavy’ colour and material in front of the driver; in keeping with the clean and lightweight theme. For that reason, the dash is broken into sections, with the most important instruments in direct line-of-sight of the driver.
Key information is displayed in a rounded, enclosed central binnacle, with levels and figures in bright blue on a black background. This matches the trim inside the car, with the seats and door furniture trimmed in a new, gloss-effect blue leather, accompanied by white leather sections, in line with the exterior body colour, a one-off paint called Mystic Pearl.
The driver’s main controls and functions are distributed in an intuitive layout, close at hand on a panel that curves downwards to the right of the driver. A centrally-mounted semi-sequential gear-shift points towards a fun-to-drive transmission, along with paddle shifts either side of the steering wheel. Integrated into the gearshifter itself is a red ignition ‘start’ button, which reinforces the sporty direction of the car.
The Honda OSM was designed by Honda’s R&D facility in Offenbach, Germany. It’s the latest example of the young talent being developed within Honda’s design studios in Europe — following the Honda Small Hybrid Sports Concept (Geneva 2007) and the Accord Tourer Concept (Frankfurt 2007).
At present, the Honda OSM is a design study model, and there are no plans for it to enter production.
1972 The CVCC engine is developed for the Civic — a low-emission petrol engine that meets strict US regulations
1993 Honda wins prestigious World Solar Challenge with the solar-powered Type Dream car
1996 Honda EV Plus electric vehicle — capable of carrying four adults nearly 140miles on a single charge — is presented to the public
1997 We unveil the Civic GX, which runs on natural gas and is available to buy in America. It becomes the world’s cleanest car
1999 Honda launches the Insight — a petrol-electric hybrid car capable of 83mpg on the combined cycle, with emissions of just 80g/km of CO2
2003 Civic IMA hybrid saloon is launched, with CO2 emissions of 116g/km
2006 New Civic Hybrid goes on sale, with fuel economy of 61.4mpg (combined) and emissions of 109g/km
2007 A lightweight hybrid sportscar concept, named CR-Z, is revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show, and a version is confirmed for production
2008 Honda unveils OSM study model at the British International Motor Show.
The hydrogen fuel cell-powered Honda FCX Clarity rolls off the production line in Japan, and leasing of these zero emission vehicles starts in the US
2009 A much more affordable hybrid car from Honda is due to go on sale in the UK in the Spring — making cleaner motoring technology available to more people