New York 04/16/2003 -- The Honda Studio E concept vehicle, a panel-side version of the all-new Honda Element, transforms the outdoors-minded Element into the ultimate mobile entertainment platform geared for New York City nightlife and urban street performance.
Studio E is built around the needs and lifestyle of a club DJ and transforms the Element's cavernous interior into a rolling audio and video studio complete with an onboard personal audio computer for mixing tracks and a 42-inch high-definition plasma screen display. The upright and modular exterior styling remain true to the Element, while the panel sides conceal equipment and provide security for speakers and amplifiers inside.
"We looked at opportunities to extend the Element's attributes and a panel-side version seemed like a natural," said Tom Elliott, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Studio E is pure concept, simply an example of what could be done with the ultimate panel-side Element."
Unlike the production Element, the driver's side features a single door so more space can be dedicated to the built-in equipment in the rear cargo area. Rear cargo doors (instead of a traditional tailgate) provide additional access to the vehicle. Like the Element, the passenger side employs center opening side cargo doors for easy access to the cargo area.
Inside, Studio E features front bench seating and two rear pod seats that flip down from the sides, yet store in a minimum amount of space when not in use. The mobile entertainment system uses a personal audio computer and can mix multiple inputs simultaneously, i.e. turntables or a more traditional guitar, drum machine or microphone could also be attached.
The personal audio computer has its own workstation with keyboard, mouse and a 17-inch liquid crystal display. To play to a larger crowd, a motorized 42-inch plasma screen rotates down from the ceiling and interfaces with the audio computer to display custom visual patterns in step with the music out the back of the vehicle, or it can play DVDs.
The mobile entertainment system transmits more than 800 watts of power to 11 speakers throughout the vehicle ranging in size from 2-inch tweeters to thunderous 10-inch subwoofers located underneath the rear cargo floor.
Studio E's performance extends beyond the high-tech equipment inside. Tuned to be quick and agile, the modified 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine delivers 190 horsepower and is coupled to a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission for excellent acceleration.
The city performance-oriented Studio E also benefits from a high performance low-profile suspension with 19-inch wheels, high performance tires, aggressively tuned springs and performance shock absorbers.
The exterior concept maximizes the utility of the Element platform by using solid panels at the rear of the vehicle, which helps add functional space and privacy. The rear cargo doors open from the center for quick load-in and convenient access to the interior.
The interior concept is built around industrial-strength utility with sporty accents throughout. Black nylon material and red Alcantera? suede are used on the seating surfaces for durability and comfort. The front passenger area has built-in rubber floor mats with raised diamond plate cleats for traction. The rear cargo area, based on the interior of a cargo plane, combines a hard shell plastic base with aluminum rails so large, bulky objects can be efficiently loaded and unloaded. The instrument panel houses a precise 6-speed shifter for the transmission (rally style, in the center of the dash) and the gauges feature sporty red lettering against a black background.
Additional panel-side Element applications include a compact race team transporter (for go-karts or motorcycles), an all-purpose cargo carrier and a concert tour bus for the aspiring rock star.