If you are outside of Europe, you may not have heard too much about the Honda E just yet. This small electric vehicle is designed with urban driving in mind, and the specs for the Honda E reflect that. But will asking customers to ultimately pay more for less only further electric car stereotypes?
Honda E Specs
This tiny subcompact car will be powered by a rear-mounted electric motor which will deliver about 150 PS (110 kW), producing about 148 bhp. Honda also says that the E’s motor will have a maximum torque exceeding 300 Nm (221 pound-feet). While performance data has not been released by Honda, a test drive by Autocar shows that the little car can go from 0 to 60 mph (96 kph) in about 8 seconds.
Its short front and rear overhang, as well as a 4.3-meter turning radius, makes it perfect for city driving. Instead of having conventional side mirrors as the standard equipment, the Honda E comes with cameras and two dashboard-mounted screens to keep track of what is going on around you.
Then there is the battery. The E uses a 33.3kWh liquid-cooled battery, which will have enough juice to make it about 125 miles (200 kilometers) on a single charge. Thanks to fast-charging capabilities, this battery will be able to recharge to 80 percent in about half an hour. The range is more than enough for a city car, but anyone who does a lot of driving may find this newest electric car offering to be a bit lacking.
Longer Range ‘Unnecessary’
While bigger is usually better when it comes to an electric vehicle’s range, Honda seems to be taking the stance that it is not always necessary. Reduced range means reduced battery weight and potentially better performance and handling.
“If you really want to cover all the requirements possible from a customer perspective, then you need to provide a car with a bigger range,” said Kohei Hitomi, the Honda E’s project leader. “…It would make the car unnecessarily bigger, heavier and more expensive and would also mean it suffers in terms of charging performance. We believe that this size and range is the best balance in terms of overall maneuverability and dynamic performance for size and charging.”
In comparison, the BMW i3 has a range of 193 miles, the Tesla Model 3 has a range of 220 miles, the Renault Zoe has a range of 242 miles, and the Kia e-Niro has a range of 282 miles.
Is It Worth The Price?
With an expected starting price of about $34,000-$41,000 (depending on the currency and country of sale), the Honda E is a bit pricy, especially when compared to larger, more practical electric vehicles with bigger batteries that sell for about the same price or less. If you are going to pay that kind of money, why not get something that is not so compact and limited in its driving range?
As it stands at a glance, the Honda E certainly does not help fight the stereotype that electric cars are expensive and inconvenient. But if it appeals to you regardless of these things, expect to see the Honda E reach production later this year, with some European countries already able to pre-order one.