It's the Urban EV's brother from another mother.

Honda will show a new version of its adorable Urban EV concept at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March and, thankfully, it won’t be the only electric vehicle the Japanese brand will bring to Switzerland. Near Lake Geneva, the Honda Tomo study will also celebrate its world premiere showing brave design ideas for electric vehicles.

The Tomo concept is not designed entirely by Honda as the brand has teamed up with students from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Torino to work on it. A group of 13 students of the two-year Master in Transportation Design class was tasked to draw Honda's next “fun” car with “the ideal means of transport for young people in the next six years” in mind.

The result is this super cute two-door small electric car which is actually a tiny pickup, as far as we can see from the first images, that can convert into a coupe. According to its creators, it should be able to meet the needs of “free time leisure outside the city” and “the demands of working in an urban setting.” Simply put, one vehicle for all your activities.

No photos of the cabin are available at the moment, but Honda says there’s an “easy, friendly” layout of screens dominating the dashboard, as well as a head-up display on the windscreen. That’s not much to go by, but judging by previous electric concepts from the marque, we expect to see a minimalistic interior with some high-tech solutions.

“At Honda Design we are always working to create a design that reflects the philosophy of our brand, offering users our experience with fun and freedom of mobility,” Taku Kono, General Manager Styling Design Division at Honda R&D, comments. He says creating the Tomo concept “was an exciting, constructive journey both for us and the students thanks to the fusion of the Honda Design philosophy and the creative energy and commitment of the young IED designers.”

The Honda Tomo will make its official debut on March 5 in Geneva, during the second part of the first press day of the show.

Source: Honda, IED Torino

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Turin, 12 February 2019 – Another world premier for the Istituto Europeo di Design which returns to the Geneva International Motor Show to present Tomo, the electric concept car created in partnership with Honda Design. Tomo is the thesis project produced by the 13 students of the two-year Master in Transportation Design at IED Torino, a venue of the network that has attracted young people from all over the world and educates them to become the designers of the future.

Just like in an automotive design centre, the Japanese company asked students to work on a brief, Honda next "fun" driving, with the aim of designing what they think should be the ideal means of transport for young people in the next six years. Months of planning and extensive research on key values like friendship, driving fun and respect for the environment led to the creation of Tomo, an electric concept car halfway between a smart device and a mobility tool that combines the needs of free time leisure outside the city with the demands of working in an urban setting. A vehicle of this type, designed to be a faithful companion of its user and able to adapt to his or her wishes and needs could only be called Tomo – friend in Japanese – to underscore the image of a vehicle that contains everything that the user needs in everyday life, inside and outside of the city.

TOMO's design (length 3997 mm - width 1893 mm - height 1556 mm - wheelbase 2690 mm) is the result of research oriented towards the product, its functionality and its youthful appearance. In Tomo the traditional barriers between the exterior and interior of a vehicle exist physically but are conceptually eliminated: the coupé volume and the functions of a mini pickup are in fact “masked” by an external appearance that is both fashionable and youthfully urban. The interior is therefore designed to offer experiences in line with the easy, friendly setting of the screens, steering wheel and head-up display on the windscreen. The exterior, on the other hand, is shaped around these functions, becoming almost an empathetic, identifying wearable device that adapts to the urban or suburban setting. Tomo was designed for a new market segment where age doesn't count. It seeks to spark the interest of new generations who increasingly have a non-traditional occupation, who want to experience their car in a fun and useful way. These are people for whom the environment, ecology and sustainability are fundamental values to build their futures on.

«At Honda Design we are always working to create a design that reflects the philosophy of our brand, offering users our experience with fun and freedom of mobility – says Taku Kono, General Manager Styling Design Division Honda R&D. Starting with the active participation of young designers, through partnerships and internships in Europe and in conjunction with the presentation of the evolution of the Honda Urban EV concept in Geneva, we asked the young IED designers to propose a variation on this theme. It was an exciting, constructive journey both for us and the students thanks to the fusion of the Honda Design philosophy and the creative energy and commitment of the young IED designers».

«With 15 full-scale models presented over the years at the Geneva Motor Show by the Istituto Europeo di Design, visitors have come to expect provocative designs from the school, the only international network of higher education participating in the trade show – says Paola Zini, Director of IED Torino. Giving our students the opportunity to work with Honda, one of the world’s top car manufacturers, and then to present the skills, professionalism and values they have acquired during their studies on a global stage is a source of great pride for IED».

Honda selected the design of Ricardo Alejandro Campos Ortega (Mexico) for the main concept idea exterior, and the work of Rudraksh Banerjie (India) as main concept idea interior, which were both then further developed together with the other students of the Master in Transportation Design for the 2017/18 scholastic year: Tanmay Madhukar Chavan (India), Michele Corneliani (Italy), Shobhanjit Das (India), Alexander Marcel Fröse (Germany), Xiaole Ge (China), Ramón Emmanuel Hernández Cortés (Mexico), Tianchen Huang (China), Sameer Aminullah Khan (India), Saketh Nalla (India), Jay Shrikant Nibandhe (India), Yu-Jie Wang (Taiwan).

The Master in Transportation Design of IED Torino is coordinated by Alessandro Cipolli with the collaboration of Davide Tealdi, IED lecturer, and under the supervision of Luca Borgogno, Design Director Automobili Pininfarina, IED Transportation Coordinator.

Tomo was built by EDAG Italia

Technical sponsors: AM Costruzione Modelli, Clinic Car Italia, Freeland.car Srl, OZ Racing, Pirelli.

Istituto Europeo di Design thanks Honda for the fruitful partnership conducted with passion, enthusiasm and a constant presence.

The idea for Tomo was drawn from a manga story created by the students of the Master’s in Transportation Design for the 2017/18 scholastic year.

It’s 2025. Coner, a talented design student at IED, is working hard on an ambitious secret project. Coner is a sharp young man, very determined, outgoing and a dreamer, often lost in study for many hours of the night. He has no time for girls but he has lots of different interests like music and sports. Very sensitive to environmental issues, he divides his time among the city, the studio and the countryside where he has a small vegetable garden where he grows fruit and vegetables, the perfect urban farmer. The story tells of his daily life: a student in a big metropolis working hard on the development of a project that should meet the needs of his double life, urban and rural. To succeed in his ambitious mission he builds Tomo, an “extension” of himself, a sort of Deus ex Machina that will help him. So Coner finds his way and draws a car in line with his needs, discovering that a car can be a “friend” (hence the name of the model: Tomo, friend in Japanese) and can perform multiple functions. Tomo is a city car, but it is also designed to transport vegetables, so Coner can continue living his life as an urban farmer, in harmony with the values of ecology and respect for the environment that are part of his DNA. The story of Coner’s life describes the development of his project, which transforms an idea into reality: Tomo, which Coner presents at a world premier at the Geneva Motor Show.

The communications campaign for the manga story was developed by Matteo Milaneschi, Coordinator of the Graphic Design Course, and Eleonora Antonioli, IED lecturer, together with Mara Artiglia, former student of the Illustration Course, Nicolò Allisiardi and Simone Imberti, former students of the Advertising Communications Course.