When you think Honda, you might think of the roar of a Formula 1 car or the quiet reliability of a humble Civic. Look into the company's philanthropic efforts, though, and you’ll find another kind of vehicle worthy of a standing ovation. With the Honda Shogo, the automaker has found a way to bring comfort and joy into the lives of hospitalized children and their families.
Honda's Shogo is an electric ride-on vehicle built for young hospital patients aged from four to nine years old. The battery-powered vehicle has a single seat and follows the design language of Honda's modern road-going vehicles. It has an adjustable speed range from 1 to 5 miles per hour and has an easy-to-use steering mechanism tuned for younger drivers. The Shogo has smooth surfaces designed for easy cleaning, and a customizable license plate holder to allow kids to put their own personal touch on the vehicle.
The name "Shogo" is from a Japanese phrase, that means "soaring into the future." It's driven with a simple go/stop control on the steering wheel and features a toy bucket on the front for carrying additional plushie passengers. There is also a rear handlebar allowing nurses or caregivers to push the vehicle, and an IV pole attachment for practicality's sake.
The project was undertaken by Honda in partnership with local dealer associations. Shogo was designed and built by engineers at Honda Performance Development (HPD), the very same team responsible for Honda’s racing endeavors in North America.
Known internally as Project Courage, the program stemmed from the creation of the original Honda Shogo vehicle back in December 2021. The first example was designed and built by a small volunteer team, and was delivered to the Children's Hospital of Orange County, California. Seeing the positive impact it had on children and their families, it only made sense to expand the program to more hospitals nationwide.
The original design was developed into production-ready form over 18 months by HPD's race engineers. Refinements improved the Shogo's durability and safety while increasing performance as well. Engineers also included easter eggs from real race cars, like steering shaft washers and front knuckle bearings cribbed from IndyCar, and steering from Honda-powered go-karts. The HPD team also gave the Shogo a horn system that plays a variety of cheerful sounds.
Honda plans to build a total of 60 examples, with the first production models sent to Akron Children's in Akron, Ohio, and Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. Further Shogo ride-ons are on their way to more children's hospitals this fall. “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,” said Kelvin Vu, Vice President at HPD.
Fundamentally, it's a beautiful effort from Honda to bring some light into the world. It's great to see these kids getting to have some fun behind the wheel, especially when it's helping them to get through a tough time. Hats off to all those involved.
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