Honda reached into its parts bin and built a pretty slick but frightfully expensive electric car that we’ll see on the road in California and Oregon next year.
As for the rest of you, keep waiting.
Although Honda remains convinced hydrogen is The Answer, it has been quietly building an electric version of the Fit. A concept has been making the rounds for about a year, and Honda unveiled the production version at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Fitting, because L.A. traditionally has been where automakers roll out their “green” cars.
The Fit EV is something of a parts-bin special, which makes sense when you consider Honda has a long track record with hydrogen and hybrid vehicles.
The Fit EV shares its 92 kilowatt (123 horsepower) coaxial motor with the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. The three-mode electric drive system was adapted from the Honda CR-Z hybrid and allows the driver to choose between econ, normal and sport modes. Each provides increasing levels of pep, with a corresponding ding to range. Drive it in Eco and you’ll see a 17 percent improvement in range over “normal.”
Speaking of range, Honda says the 20 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery is good for 76 miles of combined city and highway driving. Limit yourself to tooling around town and you could get 123 miles out of the pack. These numbers strike us as wildly optimistic. The pack in the Fit is smaller than that of the Nissan Leaf, yet its motor is more powerful and the two cars have the same range? Hmmm…
In an interesting twist, however, Honda fitted the Fit with a 6.6 kilowatt charger — most EVs use a 3.3 kw unit — and says you can charge up in as little as three hours at 220 volts. That, too, strikes us as a bit optimistic given the size of the pack; four hours probably is more typical.
As for the rest of the car, it’s pretty standard fare, although model-specific wheels and spoiler set the EV apart from its conventional counterpart. Other goodies include a telematics system that lets you control charging and other features from your phone, navi and access to 24-hour roadside assistance. You can have your Fit EV in any color so long as it is Reflection Blue Pearl.
Want one? Honda is leasing them only to “select” markets in California and Oregon, which almost certainly means the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland areas. Six East Coast markets will see the car in 2013. If you want one, you’re looking at $399 a month for three years. The MSRP is $36,625.
Yeah, that’s a lot of money for a Fit.
Photos and video: Honda