Honda Shogo puts smiles on little patients at hospitals

Two years ago, Honda’s American subsidiary came up with the idea of providing vehicles for small and young patients to be transported around hospitals as a way to bring comfort to hospitalized children and their families. Now, the carmaker, in partnership with its local dealer associations, has started production of Shogo, an electric ride-on vehicle at Honda Performance Development (HPD).

It’s a new job for HPD which specializes in the design and development of powertrain, chassis, electronics, and performance parts. Since 1993, it has been manufacturing and supporting Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports customers and now, a group of young associates will hand-assemble 60 of the Shogo vehicles using their expertise.

Soaring into the future
Shogo, which takes its name from a Japanese phrase and intended to mean ‘soaring into the future’, was first introduced at a hospital in California to transport children to and from their surgeries. “Creating Shogo was a true labour of love for our team of Honda associates and engineers driven by our desire to bring joy and mobility to young patients dealing with a hospital stay,” said Hundy Liu, Honda’s Manager of National Automobile Advertising.

Honda Shogo EV [2023]

For patients aged 4 – 9
The Shogo is specifically designed to navigate hospital hallways with a focus on helping patients aged 4 through 9. The electric vehicle is easy for children to ‘drive’ by managing the go/stop mechanism on the steering wheel, with an adjustable speed of  up to 8 km/h. It also can be pushed by a nurse or caregiver by a rear handlebar, which is equipped with an IV pole attachment.

Safe and easily accessible for young riders, the Shogo is designed without doors and features central seating with steering controls suitable for a child. Smooth, soft-to-the-touch surfacing makes it easy to keep clean in an indoor hospital setting, while a toy bucket in the front of the vehicle holds items the child would like to bring along with them and a centre horn provides a variety of sound options.

To bring even bigger smiles to the children, the HPD team also reimagined the Shogo’s horn to play a new series of cheerful sounds. The engineers thought about every possible detail, even the Shogo’s VIN tag is a special, laser-cut mini Shogo-shaped aluminium plate hidden away on each chassis. The license plate slot is customizable to display the name of each rider.

Honda Shogo EV [2023]

“We’re incredibly excited to expand the program by partnering with our Honda dealer network to make a Shogo vehicle possible for more children’s hospitals nationwide and use the power of play and laughter to help ease the stress and anxiety of hospitalized children and their families,” said Liu, who is also the Leader of Project Courage, the program to produce the Shogo vehicles.

Designed by racing engineers
HPD has transformed the original Shogo design into a production-ready vehicle over an 18-month process, meticulously and successfully advancing Shogo’s engineering along the way. The racing engineers have increased Shogo’s durability, safety and performance, while adding a racing pedigree to the electric ride-on vehicle with multiple parts and pieces borrowed from Honda’s racing machines, from IndyCar steering shaft washers and front knuckle bearings to steering from a Honda-powered Go Kart.

Honda Shogo EV [2023]

“HPD is much like a prototype shop, but with a racing pedigree and capabilities from product engineering to production, so we knew incorporating Shogo into our manufacturing process was the perfect fit,” said Kelvin Fu, Vice-President, Honda Performance Development. “Everyone at Honda who has touched Shogo has been emotionally impacted by the project, so HPD playing a part in creating a memory for these children during a stressful hospital experience is beyond measure for our team.”

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