Honda’s design for a future electric urban delivery van is so achingly cute, it should probably pop up in Pokemon’s next outing, but on top of that it displays remarkable restraint when it comes to the level of technology used in its construction.
3D printed vehicles are perceived by many to be the holy grail, sandwiching multiple components into a single build and producing them anywhere. Honda has other ideas, and with the aid of Japanese 3D printing vendor Kabuki took advantage of its Rinkak Mass Customisation Solution to provide custom non-critical body panels and decals.
With the idea of the client being food retailer Toshimaya, the brief was a branded delivery vehicle for the area’s narrow roads in the area for their home delivery business – in this case basing it on Honda’s Variable Design Platform.
The platform fits key components together, like the power unit, battery and controls, while the lightweight chassis can be varied – in this example, a lightweight chassis and pipe frame structure.
The 3D printing element brought customisation and branding directly to the vehicle – with door panels textured with Toshimaya’s dove logo, and highlighted areas conforming to brand colours, all of which is easily replaceable to fit a new marketing campaign or change in vehicle ownership.
As an enterprise solution, at a time when more crowded cities are looking to implement better traffic controls and companies improve their ability to deliver sustainably, the little electric Honda uses 3D printing as a useful enhancement, not a cumbersome driving force to be worked around.