The Honda Fit EV, which starts leasing on the West Coast later this month, uses components from Honda's four-year-old Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle to boost the EV's single-charge range, Bloomberg reports.

Electric-motor controllers and air-conditioning are among the Clarity parts used in the Fit EV, Bloomberg said, citing Honda senior chief engineer Sachito Fujimoto. The Clarity's braking system, which recaptures some of the energy from braking at applies it to available electric power, is also used in the Fit EV. Such components allow for the Fit to have a smaller lithium-ion battery pack than the ones used in the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf.

Last month, the Fit EV was given an EPA-rated 118 miles-per-gallon equivalent rating – the highest given out by the agency. The Fit EV's single-charge range was estimated at 82 miles, the longest of any non-Tesla U.S. production vehicle, behind the Coda Sedan.

Honda said last week that the Fit EV will be available for lease in California and Oregon for $389 a month, which is $60 a month more than the Leaf leases for, and $140 a month more than the Mitsubishi i's lease terms.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 70 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      My 2 (or 3) cents to the story on the account of objectivity: First of all (source title): "Honda Leverages Fuel-Cell Savvy to Extend Fit EV’s Range " "Honda Motor Co. (7267), the first automaker to lease fuel-cell cars to retail customers, said advances in hydrogen-vehicle technology helped it create a battery-powered Fit that has the highest efficiency of any car in the U.S. ... aided by components adapted from the hydrogen- propelled FCX Clarity, said Sachito Fujimoto." Thus, in a "strange and weird" way hydrogen-vehicle [fuel cell] technology helped [Honda] to create the battery-powered Fit with the "highest efficiency of any car in the U.S". Should be very good news (even for BEV die-hards), since it proves that the two technologies are mutual enablers (as opposed to enemies). "California emissions rules pushed Honda and other major carmakers to offer battery-electric models starting this year, making the Fit EV program a near-term priority." Therefore, instead of bashing the governments infinitely, you should rather thank them the very existence of BEVs. Without their rules presumably we wouldn't even have BEVs at all today (maybe except Tesla). And the not too good news (for BEV fanatics): "Honda executives, including former President Takeo Fukui, have been skeptical of the mass-market appeal of battery-powered cars because of their limited range and lengthy recharging time..." But, of course, this is just Honda's totally insignificant opinion, which is not even worth to mention. "The Fit EV is intended to help Honda understand the market potential for such cars, said Robert Bienenfeld, senior manager [Honda]... We’re trying to come up with a formula for success for EVs..." Good news again: at least they are trying it hard [to come up with a formula for success]. Very bad news: "For an older driver, some of the limitations of battery electrics make them unappealing..." But then some little hope: "...but for younger customers that may not be the case.” Now, some economy stupid (just kidding :). But seriously: “From an R&D standpoint, there’s a lot of common components between battery-electrics and fuel cells,” said John German, a project manager..." LISTEN: they make each other CHEAPER, which is definitely good news. Rejoice! “...Honda’s got a huge amount of fuel-cell experience that’s applicable...” That's how BEVs benefit from the "evil" fuel-cell experience.  Rejoice again! Finally: "Honda, which has leased only 25 Clarity sedans to California customers since 2008, needs to be ready to mass- produce zero-emission hydrogen and battery cars within a few years as energy and environmental circumstances change,  Fujimoto said." Honda, just like Mercedes et al. understands, that BEVs alone - without FCEVs - can't win the battle against the still extremely powerful ICE cars. They need each other. That is the great revelation of the news. #peaceout
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 19 Hours Ago
        You forget history. Honda has been toying around with EVs since the late 90's, maybe even earlier. So were many other companies, due to the California ZEV mandate at the time. The efficiency could be in their choice of battery alone, or maybe even a motor design, not some components they developed just for the 25 FCVs they leased. To say it's one or the other is really jumping to a conclusion. FCEV still has a very long way to go.
        Spec
        • 19 Hours Ago
        "Thus, in a "strange and weird" way hydrogen-vehicle [fuel cell] technology helped [Honda] to create the battery-powered Fit with the "highest efficiency of any car in the U.S"." Battery regen systems are not "hydrogen-vehicle [fuel cell] technology" at all. Battery regen systems use neither hydrogen nor fuel cells.
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @Spec
          Source: “Motors, motor controllers, braking, the AC system, these components we tried to make as usable as possible for both,” said Fujimoto..." #tobeprecise
        • 19 Hours Ago
        &2WM & JakeY Talking about history. You have to look back even further into the history to realize, that the biggest obstacle for battery electric vehicles is surprisingly the BATTERY ITSELF (i.e. its inherently insufficient energy density). #insufficientenergydensity http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/kurt-zenz-house/the-limits-of-energy-storage-technology
        JakeY
        • 19 Hours Ago
        Like 2 Wheeled Menace says, you need to look back at history. The hybrid AND the FCV has the BEV to thank for their existence, not the other way around! The Honda EV Plus was the first electric drive vehicle Honda made for the public. It was only after the EV Plus program ended that the NIMH tech developed for the EV Plus made it into the Insight hybrid. The body and usable components of decommissioned EV Plus were used for Honda's first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Honda FCX. The Honda FCX then evolved into the FCX Clarity we see today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_EV_Plus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_FCX Like Spec says, neither hydrogen nor fuel cell technology helped create the Fit EV. It was the shared EV components (which the CRZ and Insight hybrid likely shares too) that helped create the Fit EV.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @JakeY
          Hmmm... Spec and JakeY - who have a confirmed bias against FCVs, or Honda themselves, who actually built the thing and understand better than anyone what part from what led to what... I'll take Honda at their word. "“Motors, motor controllers, braking, the AC system, these components we tried to make as usable as possible for both,” said Fujimoto, a senior chief engineer for Honda, in a June 26 interview in Pasadena, California. “Clarity team members are also involved in our EV development.” Honda has tried to spark demand for fuel-cell cars, which make electricity for propulsion from hydrogen on board rather than storing it in batteries, since the company began leasing the Clarity sedan in Los Angeles in 2008. That effort has been stymied by the limited number of stations dispensing the fuel. California emissions rules pushed Honda and other major carmakers to offer battery-electric models starting this year, making the Fit EV program a near-term priority. “From an R&D standpoint, there’s a lot of common components between battery-electrics and fuel cells,” said John German, a project manager with the International Council on Clean Transportation, an environmental public-policy group in Washington, and a former Honda engineer. “Honda’s got a huge amount of fuel-cell experience that’s applicable.” Seriously guys, you're trying to rationalize away a statement that is very clear from its source. Honda is *proud* to comment that their FCV program has contributed to the success of their BEVs.
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @JakeY
          JakeY We need FCEVs to overcome the batteries' insufficient energy density problem, which otherwise cannot be solved ever (even with infinite amount of R&D) due to some foundational laws of thermodynamics. http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/kurt-zenz-house/the-limits-of-energy-storage-technology The rest of your post is just a painful 'nitpicking'. #nitpicking
          Letstakeawalk
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @JakeY
          JakeY, you might think the headlines are misleading, but that doesn't change the fact that Honda developed a set of specific components to use in their FCV program. They then used those components - developed originally for an FCV - in a BEV. It's not a case of the components being part of the fuel cell *system* - they were developed as part of the larger process of developing the whole FCV. Honda developed a specific electric motor for the Clarity - the Fit EV uses the same motor with a modification to the housing. As in the Clarity, the Fit EV uses a hollow motor rotor shaft, to allow a coaxial driveshaft configuration. The power control unit (PCU) in the Fit EV was developed by Honda for the Clarity. The variable hydraulic regenerative braking system was developed for the Clarity, and is used in the Fit EV. Many commenters seem to be hung up on the semantics of the headlines, without accepting the fundamental truth that those systems were developed first for the Clarity, and are now being used in the Fit EV. It's a great example of how Honda took what they learned in building an FCV, and used it to build a BEV.
          JakeY
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @JakeY
          @Letstakeawalk "Motors, motor controllers, braking, the AC system, these components we tried to make as usable as possible for both," That only confirms what I'm trying to say. The Clarity and Fit EV shares EV components. But no where in that explicit list does it say that the Clarity and Fit EV shares hydrogen or fuel cell technology (as in the fuel cell and the hydrogen storage technology that a bulk of the research money went too)! The current headline: "Honda Fit EV uses Clarity fuel-cell components to boost range" is wrong/misleading. It's equivalent to saying "Honda Fit EV uses Fit ICE components to boost range". Same with the Bloomberg title: "Honda Leverages Fuel-Cell Savvy to Extend Fit EV’s Range". Just replace Fuel-Cell with ICE and you easily see how misleading it is. It's the same deal with "Thus, in a "strange and weird" way hydrogen-vehicle [fuel cell] technology helped [Honda] to create the battery-powered Fit with the "highest efficiency of any car in the U.S"." Replace "hydrogen-vehicle" with "gasoline-vehicle" and [fuel cell] with [ICE] and you see how specious that statement is: "Thus, in a "strange and weird" way gasoline-vehicle [ICE] technology helped [Honda] to create the battery-powered Fit with the "highest efficiency of any car in the U.S"." "Seriously guys, you're trying to rationalize away a statement that is very clear from its source. Honda is *proud* to comment that their FCV program has contributed to the success of their BEVs." I think the message this article was trying to deliver is different than the message the Honda engineer was giving. The engineer's saying a lot of the electric drive components in the Fit EV (he points out a couple) were taken from the Clarity. No one is disputing that. What we are disputing is whether hydrogen or fuel cell technology had anything to do with Honda's BEVs and from the article I don't see any evidence it does. As a side comment, I don't agree BEVs and hydrogen FCVs are "mutual enablers". The core technology of BEVs (where a bulk of the R&D money and effort is going into), batteries, benefit both BEVs and FCVs (and hybrids). The core technologies of hydrogen FCVs, fuel cells and hydrogen storage, don't benefit BEVs at all. So their contribution is not mutual. Yes, BEVs may benefit from shared EV components, but hybrids also provide that too (and they don't go around advertising it).
      Turbo Froggy
      • 2 Years Ago
      With only 1,100 planned over 3 years and lease only, who cares. I sh!t more production than that. The local dealer here is Seattle will sell more Leafs than that in a year, 1 dealer. I shouldn't talk though, my 2000 Ranger EV was a compliance vehicle and I enjoy driving it every day and they only made 1500 of those.
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @Turbo Froggy
        Turbo Froggy "With only 1,100 planned over 3 years and lease only, who cares..." This exact same sentence shows [only 1,100 planned] that first of all Honda doesn't care. #hondanocare
          DaveMart
          • 19 Hours Ago
          This, together with the previous fuel cell Clarity, is giving Honda the data to produce both fuel cell and BEV vehicles, probably on the same platform. Sure, they are moving slower than Nissan, but with low sales of electric vehicles so far, who is to say they are wrong? IMO outside of the Tesla, this is probably the best BEV produced so far, and the cost is way less than Tesla's.
          • 19 Hours Ago
          Dave, Indeed. #indeed
        Spec
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @Turbo Froggy
        Yeah, those Ranger EVs are a rarity. The EV market needs some diversity . . . I wish someone would build such a pick-up that is an EV or PHEV. It can't be that hard to throw the Voltec system into a light pick-up.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't get why the Honda gets so much flak, and the Focus EV gets off comparatively scot-free: 'On its face, the least-desirable deal is on the Ford Focus Electric, which is $439 a month, and also adds a $2490 down payment, $595 acquisition fee, and $3524 due at signing.' http://wot.motortrend.com/honda-announces-389-a-month-fit-ev-lease-for-california-oregon-225899.html With their pricing, Ford are clearly aiming for no more sales than the Honda, and what is more have simply got Magma to shoe-horn in the electric stuff with no plans for future models to be purpose built, and have ended up with the boot capacity pretty well ruined. In contrast Honda have used a suitable donor, given very usable load space, got the best mileage around short of the Tesla for the smallest battery, and have utilised the development money put into their earlier fuel cell vehicles, and have a clear game-plan to have a platform when the Fit is updated in around two years capable of taking either fuel cell or battery drive trains. That is not to put Honda's efforts on a par with those of Nissan and so on, but they are clearly ahead of the likes of Ford, as they actually have versions of most alternate fuel systems including natural gas et al., whereas Ford, certainly in the case of BEVs, has no game plan to build anything other than a bodge with poor accommodation even in future models.
        JakeY
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @DaveMart
        The Focus EV is old news and like Spec says has been "crapped on" extensively over the last few months for various reasons (to the point where I think I read a comment questioning why BEV enthusiasts would criticize a BEV like the Focus EV so heavily). And there's one major difference: Ford is willing to sell it to you for $39,200. Honda won't sell you a Fit EV, it's lease only.
          Marcopolo
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @JakeY
          Jake Y You make a very good point ! The haters of the Focus EV are totally unrealistic of the obligations of Automobile manufacturers. Ford is not being "disrespectful'' to potential "EV users" (no one is making you buy a FFE)! Ford's not obliged to produce an EV to suit anyone's ideas, except their own, and the buyers of Ford EV's ! There is no 'moral' right or wrong about EV construction, simply what sells, and what doesn't. Ford sees the US market for EV acceptance as being very limited in the near future. Ford, unlike Renault/Nissan, lacks the financial resources to invest billions in developing a model which can never recover it's cost of production. Instead Ford believes it can sell an EV built on an existing, highly popular platform, to a niche market of 5000 Ford customers. Ford believes that the advantages of sharing the attributes of it's popular Focus, more than compensates for any purist design deficiencies. I would like to have seen Ford develop a rival to the GM Volt. But Ford simply doesn't have the money, and is striving to become a leader in fuel saving technology, while remaining profitable. Every viable EV in the market, including the FFE, should be welcomed !( if only for variety). There are just not enough EV's produced, and plenty of anti-EV critics! What good is accomplished by gratuitous derision from those who are supposed to be supporting adoption of EV technology ?
        DaveMart
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @DaveMart
        @Jake: They are both token efforts/early trials. I find the Fit EV both more competent in itself, and also part of a more integrated program. Ford have told us their plans, and it involves shoehorning EV packs into their standard ICE cars without regard to practicality as they have no intention of even ensuring the battery pack etc are flat. I regard that as hopeless not just now but as far as the eye can see. There is no reason that if they think that the demand is there Honda can't build a fine BEV for sale in their next model on their planned layout. Obviously that is no Nissan plan, but it is still cogent and comprehensible. Ford's is an incoherent, and in my view almost disrespectful to EV users, mess.
        DaveMart
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @DaveMart
        @Spec: I am probably thinking of one particular poster! ;-)
        Spec
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @DaveMart
        Have you been reading the messages here for the last few months. People have crapped all over the Ford as an over-priced half-hearted factory conversion.
      EV News
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Motors, motor controllers, braking, the AC system, " Unsurprisingly seeing as an FC car is basically an EV powertrain with a ridiculously expensive range extender. What is the point of this Boomberg spin?
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @EV News
        @EV News The point is, that BEVs need range extender (of any kind), due to battery chemistry (of any kind too), since they are all [batteries] limited by foundational thermodynamics to ever reach sufficient energy density (enough for long distances). That is the point. http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/kurt-zenz-house/the-limits-of-energy-storage-technology
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds good. Wow, it starts leasing later this month? Aggressive. I was kind of thinking whether I might get one, but I think later this too month is too early for me to decide and with only 1100 for lease I'll probably miss the boat if I don't know right now.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Some of you guys are pretty tough on the Clarity, but I have to tell you it really is an fantastic car. Developing any new car is an expensive proposition. Volume brings down prices.
      Elmo Biggins
      • 2 Years Ago
      The sorry fact is the Clarity cost what, $2Million a pop, and all they have to show for it are some cannibalized regen braking and air conditioning systems?? FCVs are officially a gimmick.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Everyone knows that BEVs and FCVs use the same basic drivetrains and parts. The big difference is in how they store their energy. I suppose it is nice to remind people about how FCV development benefits BEVs as well.
      Chris M
      • 2 Years Ago
      In other words, 4 Kwh of battery storage - just a fraction less than used in the plug-in Prius. Which brings out the obvious qustion - why didn't Honda add a plug-in to their FCX Clarity? It would certainly have saved on costly H2 fuel.
      JP
      • 2 Years Ago
      Braking system? You mean the regen inherent in AC motors?
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @JP
        What are you even talking about JP? Source: "Advances in the braking system for the Fit EV that recaptures 8 percent more energy from deceleration and stopping also will be applied to the Clarity [fuel cell], Fujimoto said." Which made possible this: "The goal for the Fit EV was to get as much driving range as possible using the smallest possible battery pack...[since batteries are damn heavy]" #brakingAC
          Letstakeawalk
          • 19 Hours Ago
          Here's some figures from the Clarity: "The use of a hydraulic-regenerative cooperative brake system that controls the allocation of regenerative and hydraulic braking has increased the Clarity’s rate of recovery of energy regenerated during braking by 11% against the previous FCX, enabling recovery of 57% of total braking energy (LA-4 mode)." http://goo.gl/IuMZ1
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 19 Hours Ago
        @JP
        Regen braking is a function of the controller, btw. It's nothing fancy. It's been around for a decade or more. The bigger the battery / the higher the charge C rate of the battery, the more you can crank it up.
          Spec
          • 19 Hours Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Do they have some big capacitors in there to capture a lot of energy when you brake and then use it from the capacitor or put it into the battery over time?
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      That question has been asked many times. I think I finally have an answer: "Therefore, a Li-Ion battery (288 Vdc, 13.9 Ah, 75 kW Max) is used to assist the fuel cell and to restore the vehicle braking’s energy. Also, the battery is used to re-accelerate the vehicle when the energy is available." http://goo.gl/uQFrD
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Such components allow for the Fit to have a smaller lithium-ion battery pack than the ones used in the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf." I think Honda's nose is growing here. When you look at the Honda Fit pack (capacity and the amount of that used) Honda just uses more of the capacity of the pack as opposed to the Leaf and the Focus Electric (which use less of the capacity so they have better long term capacity effects on the packs) so Honda can use a smaller pack. Now whether Honda is doing this because they aren't worried about maintaining pack capacity long term as much (since these are 3 year lease only cars and can't be purchased) is a good question (especially with Honda's history of long term pack capacity issues on their Hybrid packs due to using too much of their capacity to preserve capacity - so Honda could use smaller cheaper packs in their Hybrids).
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        Sas, Jake: Honda are able to use the smaller battery for more range because they use the Toshiba SCiB battery, which has very long cycle life and a very high SOE. They can use up to 95% of the battery. Presumably if you did that every day the battery would wear out rather faster, but it has something like 6 times the cycle life of the manganese spinel in the Leaf. You would not want to fast charge the Leaf battery all the time. The battery in the Honda will have no problems at all with that. Battery info here: http://www.toshiba.com/ind/data/tag_files/SCiB_Brochure_5383.pdf This is the 20Ah version described in the small box at the bottom right. Toshiba still don't have full details of this version up on their website, which is annoying. Their energy density in for the 20Ah is far higher than in earlier versions, or than Altairnano's, which enable it's use in cars instead of the buses that Altairnano go for. The claim of a better heating unit than in the 2012 Leaf is also not bull, as it uses a simple and not very efficient resistance heater, whereas presumably they are using a heat pump for the Honda, which is much more efficient. 2013 Leaf cars are to be upgraded to a heat pump, and they expect better range in practise from this, although it is not clear if EPA figures will reflect this. I don't know what they are using on the Focus EV.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @DaveD: Looking at Toshiba's spec sheet does make me dribble! Anyone who doesn't, doesn't understand what they are looking at! Being me, of course, I have reservations. How much are they? The lease price of the Fit EV is not exactly encouraging, but that could be just down to Honda going for very limited production and not being exactly enthusiastic about BEVs.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Hi Jake. Part of the answer is the weight. it is around 50kgs lighter than the Leaf, which I reckon is down to the battery, which is about the same energy density as that of the Leaf but manages with 20kwh as against 24kwh. I can't back up what I am saying on the battery weight, other than of course the actual kerb weights of the cars, but the interview I had a link to with Toshiba is now dead. Much of the rest as I said is down to the high DOD capabilities of the battery chemistry, as well as gains on the heating.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Sorry, re-reading my post I see that I slightly confused some assumptions I have make with confirmed information on the air conditioning. The 2013 Leaf has indeed got more efficient heating than the resistance heating they used to date in the Leaf, they have said. It is my assumption that they have done this by using heat pumps, as the Renault Zoe does, with claimed better efficiency. It is also my assumption that the claimed better efficiency of the Fit against the Leaf in the air conditioning is for the same reason. My statement that the Toshiba is one heck of a battery accounting for the differences in SOC is not an assumption of mine though! It definitely is!
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @DaveMart My guess is also lower weight, maybe better aerodynamics. The Leaf looks to have a higher frontal area (it's a very tall vehicle), with a Cd of 0.29; Fit EV has similar Cd (14% better than the .34 of the normal Fit). But like you, given the high charge and discharge rates of the SCiB cells, it likely has lower internal resistance and thus better battery efficiency both charging and discharging (less energy lost to heat). If I rephrase what Honda is trying to say in the article, then maybe the (more efficient) air conditioning, (more efficient) motor controller and stronger regen are the things responsible for better efficiency.
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          If their efficiency comes from a heat pump air conditioner vs a resistive one, they should say that their air conditioning system is more efficient. The way they phrase it is as if neither the Focus nor the Leaf has those components (this is esp. true of their talk of the regen system), which is misleading. The whole article basically tells me nothing of substance (except the 8% more regen part that I quoted) about why their car is more efficient than competitors.
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          DaveMart loves him some Toshiba batteries! LOL That's ok, I like them too. That fast recharging and deep depth of discharge are the secrets until we hit battery nirvana one day. They allow rapid charging and a way to deal with limited range.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        Danny King said those things, not Honda AFAIK.
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