Automaker Honda recently produced lots of smiles at a California hospital with the introduction of a new mini electric transport car.

Child patient at Children's Health of Orange County drives the miniature Honda Shogo EV around the hospital.

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The young patients of Children’s Health of Orange County (CHOC) experienced a little holiday cheer as they got to drive the sporty “Shogo” from their hospital rooms to other parts of the facility.

Child patient at Children's Health of Orange County drives the miniature Honda Shogo EV around the hospital.

“Creating Shogo was a labor of love for a group of Honda associates, including team members who…truly understand the importance of easing the stress of a stay for young patients. Over 30 Honda associates poured their passions into bringing Shogo to life, and all in addition to their daily responsibilities, including many long nights and weekends,” said Hundy Liu, Manager of National Automobile Advertising at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. in an interview with Muse.

Standalone shot of Honda's mini Shogo electric car.

Officially named Project Courage, Honda’s mini hospital car initiative grew out the company’s longstanding relationship with CHOC. Every year since 2016, the motor company has provided a holiday experience for the facility’s patients, utilizing virtual reality technology to create things like a “Candy Candy Lane” and “The Magic Snow Globe.”

Shogo had been in the works for several years before gracing the CHOC patients. The designers note that “the idea originated in 2019 within the Honda marketing team, and Shogo was created more than a year ago, but the pandemic slowed its trials and introduction.”

Sleepy child patient rides through the hospital in Honda's mini Shogo electric car with a teddy bear in the front.

The miniature vehicle was built to serve children between the ages of four and nine, giving them the ability to drive using power controls integrated into the steering wheel. Caregivers have the ability to adjust the speed from one to five miles per hour, and they can also manually move the car with the push bar when needed.

For patient comfort and fun, the electric ride-on also comes with a toy bucket in front to bring favorite items along, a horn that plays several sounds, including encouraging messages, and a license plate slot for displaying the patient’s name.

Close-up of the Honda Shogo's Honda built-in IV Pole and Pump Holder, made for the convenience of the patients.

“As someone who spent time in the hospital as a young child, I really wanted the number one objective of our Honda team in developing Shogo to ease the hardship of a hospital stay by providing kids a lasting positive memory about that experience,” said Randall Smock, the company’s Senior Exterior Designer of Vehicles in a recent press release. “Every element of Shogo was designed to accommodate different needs of young children, making it as easy as possible to get in and out, simple to drive, and for the entire experience to leave them a bit happier.”

Shogo, a term based on a Japanese word and intended to mean “soaring into the future,” also facilitates the medical needs of transporting patients. The back includes an IV pole and pump system holder, and the all the surfaces are soft and smooth for easy sanitizing.

Child patient at Children's Health of Orange County drives the miniature Honda Shogo EV around the hospital.

“Our team greatly appreciates Honda bringing innovative solutions that support our ongoing commitment to providing an exceptional patient experience and infusing joy into a patient’s stay,” said Brianne Ortiz, manager of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Department at CHOC. “We were impressed from the beginning when we first saw Shogo, and by the Honda team’s dedication in collaborating with our staff to ensure a vehicle that is perfect – and safe – for our young patients.”

Before its release, the Honda team built a test course inside its research & development facility that replicated the CHOC hallways to make sure the car would be feasible navigating around real patients and staff.

Concluded Liu, “Honda is a mobility company, first and foremost, and creating Shogo demonstrates our pursuit in helping to fulfill the vision of our founder, Soichiro Honda, who said, ‘The purpose of technology is to help people.’ The goal is seeing the smiles on these children’s faces and demonstrating the impact this type of vehicle can have on bettering the lives of these children.”