Honda jumps into EV market with debut of the new Fit EV

Honda unveiled its new 2013 Fit EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

 

Honda unveiled its new 2013 Fit EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday. The long-awaited Honda hatchback, based on the popular gas model of the same name, will be available for lease in California and Oregon test markets in summer 2012. MSRP is expected to be $36,625, or $400/month to lease. Honda plans to produce about 1,100 units over the first three years.

While Honda may seem to be showing up to the electric party a little late, EV expectations are high for the company, thanks to its robust R&D efforts in the alternative-fuel realm and its reputation as the greenest automaker. Many on the scene expect Honda’s offering to become the car to beat among the 30 or so new EV models that will be on the market in the next couple of years.

The Fit EV is designed for urban commuters, with an estimated driving range of 123 miles in the city (or 76 miles combined city/highway). A system adapted from the CR-Z Sport Hybrid lets the driver select Econ, Normal or Sport mode, to maximize efficiency or improve acceleration. The Fit also features “interactive coaching” to help extend driving range. The telematics system lets the driver use a smartphone to view the vehicle’s state of charge, and to start up the AC or heater while the car is still plugged in, saving a little battery range.

Honda’s EV uses a new type of battery from Toshiba called the super-charge ion battery (SCiB™). Toshiba claims that the SCiB charges in half the time of a typical Lithium-ion battery, and lasts up to 2.5 times as long. The Fit has a snappy charging time of three hours at 240 volts.

“The Fit EV is the next critical step in Honda's portfolio approach to alternative fueled vehicles,” said Honda VP John Mendel. “There is no other automaker on the planet whose spirit is more deeply invested in the effort to realize a cleaner, more energy-efficient and ultimately more sustainable transportation future than Honda.”

 

Image: Honda