Honda E preview
Honda’s first serious foray into the all-electric car world. This cute-looking contrivance is going by the simple name of Honda E, and it builds upon the Japanese marque’s work with hybrids, which has been ongoing since the Insight IMA of 1999.
What will its rivals be?
Electrified city hatches are becoming big business in the industry right now, so as well as established rivals like the Nissan Leaf and the closely related Renault Zoe, and the BMW i3 as well, there’s a crop of new talent landing, epitomised by EV superminis such as the Peugeot e-208 and Opel Corsa-e. And the Volkswagen Group is also turning all of its smallest cars, in the form of the Volkswagen up!, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii, into electric vehicles, so these could tempt buyers away from the Honda E, though not all of them will be coming to the Irish market.
Any tech info?
It sits on an all-new platform Honda has designed purely for electric cars and, most intriguingly of all, the Honda E will be rear-wheel drive. It has a 110kW (150hp) electric motor sited beneath the boot floor, powered by a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery. Exact performance stats have yet to be revealed, but a 0-100km/h time of around eight seconds seems likely, while its top speed probably doesn’t need to be anything beyond 160km/h – maybe less. Honda is claiming that it will recharge in 20 minutes to 80 per cent of its battery capacity on a 100kW hook-up, while a 7kW home charger will re-juice the car in less than six hours (overnight, basically, while you sleep). Charging ports are CCS and Type 2 connections on the Honda E.
What will the range be like?
Much lower than some rivals, as Honda asserts this is very much an urban run-around/short-distance commuter. So the Honda E will have around 200km of range on a full charge, when vehicles like the e-208 can go up to 340km thanks to bigger battery packs. However, as the average daily commute of most EV customers is around 50km in total, 200km should be enough if buyers can get their heads around the idea.
Honda has deliberately made the E look hugely appealing, with its future/retro appearance (it riffs off old designs of Civic but is most clearly a 21st century machine, especially in a cabin dominated by three digital screens), and yet its easy usability should make it a top-selling EV – as long as the price is right.