Next month electric vehicle buyers will get another option, the 2013 Honda Fit EV. Honda’s full electric Fit EV is based on the popular Fit and represents Honda’s take on the growing segment. Honda recently invited me out to Pasadena, CA where I was given the chance to get behind the wheel of the Honda Fit EV and to check out the rest of Honda’s current “green” vehicle lineup.
The 2013 Fit EV arrives just in time when electric vehicle buyers are beginning to look at models like the Nissan LEAF and the new Ford Focus Electric. Honda has decided to take the same route as Ford did with the Focus Electric, by creating an electric vehicle that is based on an existing model in its lineup. On the outside the Fit EV looks pretty close to the standard Fit. The biggest differences are a different front and rear fascia that is sportier and more aerodynamic than the standard Fit. The improved aerodynamics from the revised exterior give the Fit EV a 14% lower coefficient of drag than the standard Fit. Honda says that the Fit EV also rides a bit taller than the standard Fit, but other than that its exterior dimensions are similar. The Fit EV’s interior gets cool Bio-fabric seats, a standard navigation system and climate control. The biggest change to the interior is that the standard speedometer/ tachometer cluster has been swapped out for a new digital system that provides all the details about the electrical system.
The 2013 Fit EV is powered by a 92 kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that gives the Fit EV an EPA rating of 118 MPGe, the most of any other vehicle currently offered in the U.S. The Fit EV has a driving range of 82 miles and thanks to its 6.6 kW charger, it will only take around three hours to fully recharge the Fit EV a 240-volt outlet, which is half the time of other models like the Nissan LEAF. With the electric motor’s torque immediately available, the Fit EV feels more powerful off the line than the standard four-cylinder Fit. The placement of the battery pack under the seats also keeps the Fit EV’s center of gravity low, which means that the Fit EV doesn’t lose the agility that the standard Fit is known for. The Fit EV also has three main driving modes (sport, normal and econ) with the Fit’s gauges changing color based on the selected driving mode.
Honda set up two test tracks at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl and a short course that took us though the city’s streets and on the freeway. The Honda Fit EV was a lot of fun to drive, more so than most of us would ever expect from a typical electric car. Honda also had the Nissan LEAF on hand for back to back drive comparisons. The Nissan LEAF was not nearly as agile or fast as the Fit EV.
The Fit arrives next month in markets in California and Oregon for a lease rate of $389 a month for 36 months. Early next year the Fit EV will roll out in a few select markets on the East Coast. With only 1,100 units planned over the next two years, it will be pretty hard to find the Fit EV, which is basically the Fit EV’s biggest shortcoming.
In addition to the Fit EV, Honda also had other models like the Civic hybrid, Insight, CR-Z and Clarity fuel-cell vehicle on hand. The 2013 Fit EV shows how far Honda’s green technology has come. The Fit EV feels generations ahead of the Insight and Civic hybrid models. Next up, Honda will introduce a plug-in hybrid version of the all-new 2013 Accord. The 2013 Accord plug-in hybrid features a two-motor hybrid system that gives the Accord an electric-only driving range of up to 15 miles. Honda also claims that the Accord plug-in hybrid will take less than 1.5 hours to recharge using a 240-volt charger.
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