• Jul 16, 2012
Most carmakers like to think that their portfolio of vehicles can meet the needs of most any consumer. But in the case of the electric car, there aren't many choices. Some manufactures have decided to sell range-extended EVs, some started with a white sheet of paper and built an EV from scratch. And then there are those carmakers who chose to repurpose an existing vehicle design for an electric. The Honda Fit EV falls in the latter category. While looking only subtly different from its gas-powered sibling, the Fit EV is dramatically changed underneath. A lithium-ion battery pack is setup low in the car, under the passenger floor. With the weight sitting lower to the ground, the overall dynamics improve greatly. The body rolls less around turns, and pitches and dives less during acceleration and braking.

The Fit EV is propelled by an AC synchronous, permanent magnet coaxial traction motor and low-friction reduction gearbox. Those who know the Honda FCX Clarity, might notice that the Fit EV has the same powertrain setup (albeit, a different source of power).

Honda originally said the Fit EV would get anywhere from 70-100 miles of range in concept form and the EPA rated it at 82 miles, taking first place among competitors. In addition, the fuel economy was measured at 118 MPGe--the highest for any electric car.

HONDA

With Fit EV, there are a many ways to stay connected to the car from afar. Like most EVs, Honda has an app available for users to set charge times for "off-peak" hours, depending on the energy company's rate schedule. When connected to the grid, users can program an ideal cabin temperature and time for the car to be ready. If one were to typically depart for work in the morning at 8:30 AM, the Fit EV could take that information and charge at different points in the evening and overnight to minimize costs.

Also included with the car is an electric keyfob that acts similarly to the smartphone app, but with a simplified feature set. The keyfob allows drivers to view the battery's charge, start charging, and activate the climate control. Keep in mind, the key fob doesn't require an internet connection or cell phone to communicate with your car.

The Honda Fit EV represents Honda's return to a technology and environmental leader among its competitors. The only problem we see is that there won't be enough of the Fit EV to go around. Honda plans to lease only 1,100 over the next three years, and no vehicles will be available for purchase. The unique $399/month lease offer does cover maintenance and insurance though.

Honda's Fit EV may have made a splash with impressive range and MPGe ratings, but the company is still just dipping its toe into the electric vehicle marketplace.



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