The idea of a all-electric Honda Fit is nothing new, but the details of the production version that will come to the United States next summer are, well, also nothing new. As announced today, the all-electric Fit will only be available through a lease program, probably for $399 per month. What's interesting is that the car does have an MSRP of $36,625, and multiple Honda reps milling around the stand after the official unveiling said that the lease-only deal is what's being announced today but that Honda listens to its customers. So, anyone who likes the idea of driving a Fit EV for a long time without having to give it back should let Honda know.
Hand raising starts today at the new Fit EV website. Honda spokesperson Jessica Fini told AutoblogGreen that the go-slow method is just how Honda likes to do things:
Technologically, the Fit EV has good numbers. For starters, how about a city range of 123 miles (this is a "preliminary estimate determined by Honda using EPA methods"). Combined, the Fit should be rated at 76 miles. Aside from some modifications to the dash and a special bio-fabric, the Fit EV is almost identical to a standard Fit on the interior. When folded down, the rear seats don't get quite as flat as they do on the gas-powered Fit because of the 20-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. As reported before, the Fit EV's motor is a 92-kW unit that was derived from the motor in the hydrogen fuel cell-powered FCX Clarity. Technology from the CR-Z Sport Hybrid also makes the jump to the Fit EV in the case of the three-mode electric drive system. With an onboard 6.6-kW 32 amp charger, the battery can fill up in three hours on a Level 2 EVSE.
"Because of our experience in the '90s, we're taking a slow and steady approach and that's kind of been the Honda way, whether you're happy with it or not. Every foray into advanced technology, whether we've been the leader or second or third, we've taken that slow and steady approach. ... It's not to say that we can't, in the future, modify the program."
What does "summer" of 2012 mean? We kept hearing that the Fit EV program is 10 months away from launch, so that would place the first deliveries in August. "Select California and Oregon markets" will be the first to get the car, followed by six areas of the East Coast in 2013. Over the three-year program, Honda plans on making 1,100 Fit EVs available here (the company is also testing the car in Japan and China. The Fit EV will only be available in one color: Reflection Blue Pearl.
*UPDATE: Fini wanted to clarify and expand on her quote, and so sent Autoblog the following:
Honda has always taken a slow and steady approach when it comes to introducing new technologies. Sometimes that means taking a different path then what the rest of the industry is doing. Honda is taking a portfolio approach when it comes to alternative fueled vehicles – introducing a variety of technologies (EV, P-HEV, FCEV, Hybrid, Natural Gas and fuel-efficient ICE) and letting the customer decide which best meets their needs.
Whether we are first or second to market with a new technology, Honda strives to exceed the customer ownership experience. With the Fit EV, we want to make sure Honda's return to the battery electric market is matched to customer's expectations of a Honda vehicle (exceptional reliability and quality). We felt leasing the Fit EV at this stage was the best way to both meet the high standards customers have come to expect from Honda and manage the customer ownership experience.
With that said, Honda is a flexible company that listens to its customers. We will be carefully monitoring customer feedback and continuously evaluating the Fit EV program when it launches next summer.
Related Gallery2013 Honda Fit EV: LA 2011
Battery electric commuter vehicle launching summer 2012
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16, 2011 – Honda today unveiled the all-new 2013 Fit EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show, announcing plans to begin leasing the 123 city-mile per charge (76 mile range combined adjusted city/highway)1 battery electric commuter vehicle to its U.S. customers in the summer of 2012. The Fit EV is based on the popular Fit hatchback and is a part of the company's diverse portfolio of alternative fuel vehicles that includes gasoline-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell-electric and natural gas-powered models.
American Honda will begin leasing the Fit EV to customers in select California and Oregon markets next summer, and will expand to six East Coast markets in early 2013. The Fit EV's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price2 (MSRP) is $36,625 with an estimated lease priced at $399 a month. Honda will monitor market acceptance, but expects volume at this early stage of production to be approximately 1,100 Fit EV's over the next three years.
"The Fit EV is the next critical step in Honda's portfolio approach to alternative fueled vehicles," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "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."
Customers interested in leasing a Fit EV are encouraged to sign up at www.FitEV.Honda.com where they can receive more information and sign up for the opportunity to become a future Fit EV customer.
Fit EV Performance
The Fit EV is designed to meet the needs of an average urban commuter, offering an estimated driving range of 123-miles on a single charge using the US EPA city cycle test methods (Honda anticipates a combined city/highway EV range of 76 miles on the new Fuel Economy labels) 1. The Fit EV will be powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92 kilowatt coaxial electric motor. The high density electric motor, derived from the motor used in the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, delivers excellent efficiency and power while remaining quiet at high speeds.
Driving range of the Fit EV can be maximized by using several innovative features, including a 3- mode electric drive system, adapted from the CR-Z Sport Hybrid. The system allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal and Sport to instantly and seamlessly change the driving experience to maximize efficiency or improve acceleration. While in Econ mode, practical driving range can increase by as much as 17-percent compared to driving in Normal mode. Acceleration improves significantly when in Sport mode, adding to the Fit EV's fun to drive nature.
In addition to the 3-mode driving system, the Fit EV includes interactive coaching features designed to assist the driver in maximizing battery performance and driving range. The power meter alerts the driver to optimal driving conditions. Additional energy- saving features includes a highly efficient electric air conditioning system and new regenerative braking system.
The 6.6 kW, onboard 32 amp charger allows for convenient recharging of the Fit EV. With a 240-volt charger, the Fit EV can fully recharge in as little as three hours. At launch timing, Honda will have a preferred Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) charging supplier.
Fit EV Exterior and Interior Styling
The exterior dimensions of the Fit EV are identical to the gasoline-powered Fit with the addition of a higher hip point to accommodate the under floor placement of the 20 kWh battery. When the car launches in summer 2012, it will be available in one exclusive color, Reflection Blue Pearl. EV badges on the rear hatch and decals on the side of the vehicle distinguish the electric vehicle from its gasoline counterpart.
The Fit EV carries a familiar chrome front fascia that is similar to other Honda environmentally-responsible vehicles like the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle and Insight hybrid. The Fit EV is outfitted with distinct five-spoke alloy wheels and an aerodynamic rear spoiler.
In the passenger cabin, the seating surfaces are covered with bio-fabric. The Fit EV features illuminated meters that alert the driver to key vehicle functions including state of charge, battery usage and driving range. The meters change color depending on the driving mode selected (green, white or red).
The Fit EV features a spacious and functional cabin with comfortable seating for up to five passengers. For enhanced versatility, the Fit EV offers multiple seating and cargo-carrying configurations.
Fit EV Telematics and Interactive Remote
To help the driver manage the electric vehicle ownership experience, the Fit EV will have a standard telematics system that allows the driver to stay connected through a smartphone, personal computer or interactive remote. Through the Fit EV smartphone and computer applications, the driver can remotely view the vehicles state of charge, initiate charging and activate the air conditioning and heater, to pre-condition the vehicle while connected to the grid which maximizes battery range on start-up. The mobile application and website also offers the ability to set charging notifications and alerts to optimize charging times based on varying utility rates and provides access to 24-hour roadside assistance. The Fit EV will come equipped with a standard Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ that provides the ability to locate public charging stations and frequently updated traffic information.
The interactive remote allows the driver to monitor the vehicles state of charge and cabin temperature. Additionally, the driver can initiate and terminate charging and remotely turn on the air conditioning using the interactive remote. The interactive remote does not require an internet or mobile connection to operate however the driver must be within 100 feet (30 meters) of the vehicle.
Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program
Honda will test the Fit EV with the City of Torrance, California Google Inc. and Stanford University as a part of the Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program. Each program participant will provide Honda with real-world feedback on the Fit EV. Individually, each participant will use the Fit EV to further initiatives such as research into human behavior and various usage like personal, fleet and car-sharing.
Honda Environmental Leadership
In addition to the Fit EV, Honda is a leader in the development of leading-edge technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.
Honda has led the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since 2000, and a Honda vehicle has topped the list of America's greenest vehicles, from the America Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), for eleven consecutive years.
In 2006, Honda became the first automaker to announce voluntary CO2 emissions reduction targets for its global fleet of automobile, powersports and power equipment products and its global network of manufacturing plants. Today, the company is striving for even greater reductions in CO2 emissions that contribute to global climate change, while also working to minimize waste, water use and the total environmental footprint of its operations worldwide.
For more information and high resolution images of the Fit EV, please visit www.hondanews.com.
Connect to Honda:
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Honda Multimedia Newsroom (for media only): http://www.hondanews.com
Fit EV for consumers: http://www.FitEV.honda.com
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Honda Web Site: http://www.honda.com
1 123 city/95 highway mile range (unadjusted); 76 combined mile range (adjusted). Preliminary estimates determined by Honda using EPA methods. Your range will vary. For additional information about EPA test methods, visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/learn-more-electric-label.shtml
2 MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
View this release on hondanews.com