Honda cracks snack-sized P-NUT concept at LA Auto Show


December 3, 2009

Honda's Personal-Neo Urban Transport ultra-compact vehicle - or P-NUT for short

Honda's Personal-Neo Urban Transport ultra-compact vehicle - or P-NUT for short

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With the variety of different engine technologies emerging to replace the traditional internal combustion engine, Honda has taken a very smart approach with its Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) ultra-compact vehicle. The concept car features a modular rear engine bay designed to accommodate a wide variety of potential powertrain technologies including a conventional small internal combustion engine, a hybrid system, or a battery-electric drivetrain.

The P-NUT, which Honda unveiled at the LA Auto Show this week, is designed for cities and tight urban areas with its small, micro-car footprint. The concept vehicle seats three with its central driving position flanked by two rear seats. This configuration provides legroom roughly equivalent to that of a mid-sized saloon for all passengers, but in a vehicle measuring 3.4m long, 1.75m wide and 1.4m high (11.2 x 5.7 x 4.6 feet). The rear seats can also be folded out of the way to increase storage capacity.

The futuristic flowing exterior lines of the the P-NUT merge in the standout element - the one piece combination windshield/roof. The windshield - which serves as a head-up display (HUD) for the navigation system and reversing camera - not only offers total above the head visibility, but also extends almost to the floor of the vehicle, broken only by an oversized Honda logo.

Developed by The Advanced Design Studio of Honda R&D; Americas, Inc. in Los Angeles, the P-NUT is currently only a concept with no plans in place to bring it into production.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

GAK! Another \"dork box!\" What\'s with these little death traps that keep getting put out as if somebody would want to drive one? If that\'s all there was I\'d just ride my motorcycle, I can\'t see what the draw is to why anybody would think these are appealing?


@mrhuckfin: Some folks like little cars for the efficiency. Sure their is some element of safety trade-off versus a Ford F150 or Yukon SUV, but every vehicle has it\'s trade-offs. With safety cell and airbag technology, even small cars are safer than large cars of 20 years ago, so calling them \"death-traps\" is probably max-hyperbole and ingenuous sarcasm. If it doesnt\' get NHTSA approved or rated highly, then it won\'t sell or won\'t sell well to those who look at those ratings before buying. It\'s all about consumer choice, engineering and market demand. [As a physician, I can\'t think of a bigger death trap than a motorcycle (which you ride)... or as we say in the Emergency Room: \"donor-cycle\".]

Not every car is designed to appeal to everyone, and small cars like this have their niche appeal in America, and if you broaden your thinking to the 95% of the world population beyond the USA, their is even a larger group of potential car buyers who prefer smaller cars for many reasons: economy, traffic congestion, small/narrow urban streets, etc. You might not have noticed, but it\'s called an \"urban\" vehicle for just those engineering characteristics I mentioned. Half the world\'s population lives in urban environments, and a car like this would be marketable.


Doc Rings


the Smart is a very small but superbly designed car,,,,,,it received a 5 star crash test result which hardly warrants a title of death trap !....... I loved the Docs description of a motorcycle as an \"Donor cycle \"

rob yates

Doc and Rob seem to denigrate motorcycles by calling them \"Donor cycles\". Good luck getting that set of lungs with an attitude like that. All hail those file people donating their body parts, I take my hat off to them. Small cars are all good. Less space, less gas, less pollution. Good stuff Honda (largest motorcycle maker in the world)

Craig Jennings

Doc Rings, you are right about personal taste being an individual thing, I’m obviously in the minority about little square box cars being popular as I’ve never been able to figure out the popularity of the Scion XB’s and XD’s? That being said I still can’t see why they can’t have a little more fluid shape and maybe more of a sport appeal than the purely utilitarian function as these little box’s can’t hold anything as it is, I know when I was in France and England that those little smart cars where EVERY where and that’s probably a good place for those sort of vehicles but I still don’t like what I’m seeing put out as our next gen. Urban commuter cars. As for the motorcycle comment… at least I know what I’m getting into (or onto in this case) and I’ve always felt my advantage of speed and maneuverability where of a better safety edge to my person than being in a tiny little underpowered cage, and I\'d say after riding for more than 30 years with out any kind of an accident would defend my point well in that regard. Again all my on opinion I can’t speak for others. :-)


Now: add a CNG turbine from modelling world. a high speed alternator and an electric motor at each wheel? OR: IBM's newest air/lithium batteries? Build the body from Canadian Hemp using University of Alberta technologies - a la Hemp Lotus, to sequester carbon even. Imagine your car running off your BBQ gas outlet - yes, it has so been done even in Canada.

Bruce Miller
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