• Nov 23, 2010
Honda Fit EV concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

When Honda puts the Fit EV on sale in 2012, it will come with a device that, as far as we can recall, will be unique in the plug-in vehicle space: a little something Honda calls a "pocket-friendly, interactive remote" (basically, a key fob) that will interact with the vehicle and display, "the vehicle's state of charge, initiate charging and activate the air conditioning, even while connected to the grid, to reduce the drain on the battery at start-up." Think of it as a physical version of the smartphone app that other vehicles will use for this sort of functionality (the Fit EV will also have an app). We think a fob like this is a bizarre little add-on, but maybe Honda has got some sort of inside information that the non-smartphone owning masses really want to carry an extra piece of plastic around with them.

More important, though, is the work that Honda will do in the intervening years to get the Fit EV, with a li-ion battery from an unnamed supplier, ready for business. Honda will work with three different groups on an electric vehicle test fleet program: Stanford, which will test user behavior and usability; the City of Torrance, which will test what a local government can do to promote plug-in vehicles and educate citizens about the benefits of such cars and Google, which will add the Fit EVs to the RechargeIT car sharing fleet and track energy consumption. For now, Honda is keeping the number of vehicles that will go to each partner a secret but the first vehicles should be delivered early next year.

Lastly, we tried to get some more information about the Fit's three drive modes. This far out from launch, it's hard to know exactly what the numbers will be when the car hits dealers, but Honda did say during the car's reveal that engaging eco mode would boost the range by up to 17 percent. Honda wouldn't say how much range sport mode would take away, just that the eco mode gets 25 percent more range than sport mode. You can watch Honda CEO Takanobu Ito unveil the Fit EV at the LA Auto Show here.




Live photos copyright ©2010 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

[Source: Honda, GigaOM]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another test fleet and years wasted until they get their data and develop their car.. BMW did their Mini fleet, GM did their EV1 test fleet.. every manufacturer will have to go thru this.

      Neil, no reputable manufacturer will have automatic free wheeling or disable of regen braking when you lift off the throttle.. its a legal liability hazzard.
        graphikzking
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why not just make a 3rd VERY LIGHT Pedal like a Faux Clutch? The "clutch" pedal will just put the car into neutral while your depressing it.

        I just push the clutch in on my MR2 and coast.

        In the Prius I have to find that "happy" medium and it's always a pain.

        OR you could make the "gas" (acceleration) pedal touch sensitive. If something is touching it, then make it free wheel. If nothing it touching it, make it run the regenerative braking.

        I think this is what will occur in the future. Pressure pedal. If there is any weight on it it will just free wheel. Sounds simple enough to implement.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is great. The fit is a nifty little platform with utility much larger than its size. It will make an awesome electric vehicle.
      • 4 Years Ago
      if this could get 150+ miles, I would replace my 09 Fit with it as soon as it comes out... unfortunately 100 miles is cutting it too close for me, some days I need to drive into town and back (22 miles each way) more than once... 200 miles is really the perfect spot for me, but 150 would do
        • 4 Years Ago
        The type of trip I am talking about is let's say I go into the office (22 miles) and I get a phone call and my daughter is sick at school... I have to turn around, pick her up, take her to my mother, then back to the office again... just added about 55 miles to my normal 88 mile day... let's say I also have to drive to a client's office for a meeting, or let's say I forgot something at home, or have to make an emergency trip somewhere else... Unless my office got a quick charger, that wouldn't work... with 150-200 mile range, there is very little chance I would not have enough charge to get me through the day...

        I'd bet that in about 10 years there will be nothing to worry about, but I'd really love to get into one of these in 2 years!
        • 4 Years Ago
        mchoffa

        you had better lobby your town and grocery store etc to make sure they put some fast chargers in place by the time you can but a Fit EV ! these apparently typically give an 80% recharge within 20-30 minutes, which would give a theoretical max daily range of 180 miles ! problem sorted ! So you could charge whilst doing your shopping or eating a meal etc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @McHoffa

        If you are home between your two trips, just plug it into the charger. You don't need a full charge cycle to top up your battery enough for the second trip and still have reserve capacity.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @McHoffa

        If you are home between your two trips, just plug it into the charger. You don't need a full charge cycle to top up your battery enough for the second trip and still have reserve capacity.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can see it already.. awesome car in the making.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If regenerative braking is on the brake pedal...
      - The effectiveness of regenerative braking is dependent on velocity. Do you have to change the brake pedal pressure as you slow down?
      - What happens if the battery is full? Do you have to press harder on the brake pedal to get the usual effectiveness?
      A computer can compensate for these issues, but it sounds like a tricky bit of software because it has to:
      - Predict the regenerative braking force
      - Predict the would-be mechanical braking force
      - Predict how much mechanical braking force to apply to simulate the would-be braking force if only mechanical brakes were used.
      It's probably a lot simpler for the car manufacturer to put regenerative braking on the accelerator.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Evan,

        The points you make are all valid, and they apply whether the regen is on the accelerator pedal and/or the brake pedal.

        Sincerely, Neil
      • 4 Years Ago
      For the hypermiling adepts coasting is better, for the average driver regen is the best. The Chevy Volt puts regen both in the gas and brake pedal. The software/hardware used on the brake pedal regen is very sophisticated, borrowed from their large vehicle 2-Mode hybrids. Most Volt drivers will seldom use the brake pads, even when they think otherwise. The rotors are specially coated to reduce rust.

      The car should sense braking acceleration, and seamlessly blend both types of braking to meet the drivers request.. it should not be felt on the pedal as the mix changes. This is complicated in that fully mechanical braking for failsafe must be preserved in the pedal.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty much sounds like the same key fob I had with the Honda EV Plus but a little more advanced. Looking back I seem to recall the key fob could show you the charge state, turn on the climate control, unlock/lock the doors and activate panic mode. Being able to turn on the climate control from inside the house or office right from the key fob was pretty nice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A fob on your keychain is much easier & faster to use than a smartphone app. No reason why you can't have both.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And your smartphone is likely to last 1-3 years depending on if you take it to the beach etc.
        Smartphone development frameworks change all the time. Will the manufacturer bother to update the app so it works on the iphone6 or windows8? By relying on a smartphone app and not a keyfob this feature has built in planned obsolescence.
        https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Planned_obsolescence

        Of course car manufacturers want you to buy a new car every 3-4 years so this is the perfect way to implement features.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I really hope that the Eco-mode has free-wheel coasting when you lift your foot off of the accelerator! And I hope it only has regenerative braking ... on the brake pedal! This is the best way to help the range.

      I'm glad that Honda is taking this seriously. The car looks like it may have a smooth belly pan, as well as other aerodynamic improvements.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's false, tis is contingent on your driving style and does not apply to all driving conditions. In many cases coasting and regen on brake alone is less efficient. Not everyone drives like a hypermiler. Thank goodness.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm with you Neil, after driving Honda and Toyota hybrids for years and looking at what's coming with EV's, give me a hybrid / EV car that actually coasts without driver work, let the regen and its inherent inefficiencies sit on the brake pedal...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Neil,

        Your example is definitely not evidence that one design or control strategy is better than the other: you would need to have data for the Honda CRF with both strategies employed to reach that conclusion. This is why I asked you if you had data, because you seem to be drawing conclusions when there is an absence of that needed data. Any scientist will tell you that's the wrong strategy.

        It's possible that under ideal conditions that regen only on braking might be more efficient--although this will take careful application of the brakes and will depend on the characteristics of the electrical system (including the battery) and the SOC. It's also quite possible that for normal driving (i.e. not hypermiling) that regen after you take your foot off of the accelerator will be better. I have driven both types on test tracks and once you get used to the latter, the mileage climbs appreciably.

        I would suggest that you delve into this a bit further and find actual data before you draw broad conclusions.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My guesses:

        1. To emulate a standard car somewhat.
        2. Since lithium batteries can only handle so much charge at a time, this is a good way to pre-emptively start getting some regenerative power, assuming that the driver is eventually going to slow down.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, Neil, you can take your foot pressure off the gas pedal to initiate regen, but you don't have to move your foot to the break pedal, this allows for quicker changes in the car's state, making it more responsive.

        [ Speaking from my experience with the 2010 Insight. ]

        When you take foot pressure off the gas you get a good level of regen.
        When you touch the breaks you get more regen, if the battery can take the extra charge.

        To mimic freewheeling, you just need to keep some slight pressure on the gas pedal. Ideally, some of these parameters would be customizable, assuming the lawyer's allow.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I like to coast in my standard Corolla and I'm pretty careful to not hold anybody up. Most drivers don't get it so I find it can bring me more frustration than it's worth. I'm coasting up to the red light just a half block ahead but the guy behind me is honking because he thinks I'm holding him up. Can't win.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Jeff,

        I am not saying that there is something to be gained by regenerative braking. But the physics of it show that coasting will always be more efficient than using the accelerator all the time right up until using the regen.

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Neil, do you have any data to back up your assertion that having regen only on the brakes is more efficient, or is this just your personal opinion? While it may be more difficult physically to keep your foot on the accelerator, for non-hypermilers, it is likely better to get regen whenever you can and not depend only on getting it while hitting the brake. Like it was alluded to above, the batteries can only accept so much current while braking, so the mechanical brakes invariably get used. It's definitely a learned skill, but doesn't take long to master.

        I would be interested to know if there are any data comparing the efficiency of coasting and regen without the brake.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Having to hold the accelerator pedal *exactly* in one position to be able to coast is difficult and tricky, and should not have to be learned. Driving long distance like this is not good for efficiency, or for the leg muscles. I do a lot of ecodriving, and coasting is by far the most efficient way to roll -- in an EV, you would use zero energy, and reclaim the potential energy directly.

        If you have to use the brakes, then you have accelerated too much. Regenerative brakes should only be used to slow the car in unanticipated situations, and at the last moments to come to a stop.

        Not only is ecodriving much more efficient, but it also helps to improve traffic flow. The worst thing for traffic flow is also the least efficient way to drive: accelerate hard and then brake hard. This sets up lots of oscillations in the traffic flow, which causes many drivers to apply their brakes for no apparent reason.

        Smooth predictable driving results in smooth and predictable traffic flow, and it is the most efficient way to drive.

        Heated brakes are to be avoided, and having hot brakes for normal driving is the clearest indicator that the driver can improve their efficiency.

        Coasting uses the weight and momentum of the car in the best way possible. So, it makes sense that making it as easy as possible to coast -- by just lifting your right foot completely off the accelerator to coast will predictably; and by the way, provide a couple of moments to relax the muscles in the driver's leg, too.

        All the braking should be engaged by the brake pedal; pure and simple. On an EV, all the regenerative braking should be used to regain as much of the energy as possible -- but this is less efficient than coasting, by definition; so it show not be the way you drive to maximize range on an EV. So, as much braking as possible should come from regeneration, and the engineers need to integrate the hydraulic brakes to provide emergency braking and stop the car at slow speeds; when regen cannot.

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Yeah . . . why do they engage regen if you are not breaking? Is it simpler to implement that way?"

        It's to make it feel more like an ICE vehicle's "engine braking". That's the only reason.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jeff,

        Yes, the data is out there -- how do you think a Honda CRX HF gets 118MPG?

        http://ecomodder.com/blog/20-yearold-modified-honda-crx-hf-scores-118-mpg-fuel-economy-run/

        Coasting is better for several reasons:

        When you coast you are getting most of the energy that it took to accelerate back; as you only lose from aero and rolling drag.

        With regenerative braking, you lose the aero and rolling drag AND from the losses of the generator/charger/batteries, too.

        More importantly, in many situations if you cannot coast easily -- it is too easy to accelerate and then immediately brake. So, you over accelerate and then have to over brake.

        Think about it: there are three possible modes of driving, right?

        1) Accelerating
        2) Coasting
        3) Decelerating

        Accelerating uses energy, depending on the weight of the car, the steepness of the grade, and the rate of acceleration.

        Coasting uses no added energy, and it uses the accumulated momentum / kinetic energy gained by the acceleration.

        Decelerating loses energy to either losses in the regen, and/or converting kinetic energy to heat.

        To be the most efficient, we need to minimize the energy it takes to accelerate and the energy lost through braking, and we need the car to lose a minimum amount of kinetic energy by being as low aerodynamic and rolling drag as possible.

        To cover the most distance with the least energy, we need to accelerate up to a speed that will then allow the car to coast as close to the end as possible, and then use regen to regain some of the remaining kinetic energy. The brakes needs to stay as cool as possible.

        Of course, cruising longer distances and/or up hills requires some additional acceleration; either to maintain a constant speed, or to climb a hill / slope. You can do pulse and glide instead of constant acceleration (using the terrain as possible) and climbing hills well requires what I call "swooping". This involves accelerating ahead of the uphill slope (when gaining speed takes less energy) and then use this to help carry speed up the hill. Think how a bicyclist would climb a hill, and you'll understand.

        Coasting downhill is a no-brainer, and it certainly is easier to do this when you don't have to constantly fine tune your foot on the accelerator pedal. If you go too fast, then use the regenerative brakes, on the brake pedal! And prepare to "swoop" if there is an uphill.

        If coasting is the most efficient way to cover distance, then it should be the easiest mode to achieve; not the hardest. If all the regenerative braking is integrated into the brake pedal, and lifting your right foot off the accelerator lets you free-wheel coast -- then you will quickly learn how to maximize the time spent coasting. You will learn the dynamics of your car, on the routes you routinely drive, and you will maximize your range / efficiency; ICE or EV.

        Sincerely, Neil

        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah . . . why do they engage regen if you are not breaking? Is it simpler to implement that way?
        • 4 Years Ago
        To make it feel like a standard car? UGH! That is awful.

        I like to put my car in neutral and coast as is. I really want the ability to coast.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Regarding the fob that is discussed in the original post, I doubt it will be anything extra at all, it'll probably just be the "key" for the vehicle - maybe without a key sticking out (normally).

      As an example, I believe the current Prius has a fob (that is your key) and on certain models can start the AC on the car prior to entry via an AC button (and also handle vehicle startup if that option is installed via certain presses of the lock unlock buttons).

      Wouldn't take much more to get to what Honda is talking about here, nothing radically inconvenient about it (as long as they don't make it too big to display the charge level).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sorry Neil,

      Your assumptions ONLY apply to your driving habits and technique. It is a FACT that there are driving styles where more on pedal regen is MORE efficient than brake only unless you want a horrid transition to the pads. Do you own an EV with off pedal regen, one with adjustable regen? Have you ever driving in hilly areas with quick stops? You are speaking from your driving style only. This is a typical view form hybrid drivers with little EV experience. Both implementations have advantages but having adjustable off pedal regen yields the most options for more efficiency. I have driven at least 50K miles mixed in both modes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mark,

        I know that Dave Cloud's Dolphin is a very efficient EV -- probably the most efficient EV I have come across. It does not even have regenerative braking.

        http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/ultimate-aerodynamic-car-dave-clouds-dolphin-13142.html

        Please see my earlier reply -- regenerative braking is great to have, and is way better than friction brakes. But, coasting is better still -- especially when you are losing a minimum to aerodynamic drag, as shown by the Dolphin. It is more efficient than the Aptera, and any of the X-Prize cars, in my estimation. Having regenerative braking (and a lithium pack) would make it even better, for sure.

        Another example is the Illuminati Seven; and it does have regen and a lithium pack:

        http://illuminatimotorworks.org/blog/?p=193

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Once again, under certain conditions and not all. Not everyone drives like you and for those that drive under different conditions and stop short, off pedal regen is better because you don't hit the pads and get more regen. Until there are no brakes on EV's this will hold true. Hypermilers don't get this because this is their only first hand experience and suits their driving style. As a side note for many dense cities, that crowd slows traffic, increases idle times for many cars that miss lights, and mess up traffic flow with a net effect of more energy consumption for all:) I get it, but there is more that one correct answer and it is IT DEPENDS.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sorry Neil,

      Your assumptions ONLY apply to your driving habits and technique. It is a FACT that there are driving styles where more on pedal regen is MORE efficient than brake only unless you want a horrid transition to the pads. Do you own an EV with off pedal regen, one with adjustable regen? Have you ever driving in hilly areas with quick stops in an EV, not a hybrid? You are speaking from your driving style only. This is a typical view from hybrid drivers with little EV experience. Both implementations have advantages but having adjustable off pedal regen yields the most options for more efficiency. I have driven at least 50K miles mixed in both modes.
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