Honda e at the 2019 International Motor Show Germany
|Production||2019 (to commence)|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Subcompact car (B)|
|Body style||5-door hatchback|
|Power output||100–113 kW (134–152 hp; 136–154 PS)|
|Transmission||1-speed fixed gear|
|Electric range||220 km (137 mi)|
|Wheelbase||2,500 mm (98.4 in)|
|Length||3,985 mm (156.9 in)|
|Width||1,750 mm (68.9 in)|
|Height||1,495 mm (58.9 in)|
|Curb weight||1,400 kg (3,086 lb)|
The Honda e is an electric car manufactured by Japanese automaker Honda, to be available in the European and Japanese markets. It is based on the Urban EV Concept presented at the 2017 International Motor Show Germany in September 2017. The production version was unveiled at the same show in 2019. Unlike the layout of the Urban EV Concept, which was a 3-door hatchback, the production version is available only as a 5-door model. Its name was confirmed by Honda in May 2019. The vehicle is styled with a retro look reminiscent of the first generation Civic. Honda's stated goal is to offer an all-EV lineup in Europe by 2025.
Design and history
The Urban EV Concept, first shown in 2017, was styled by Yuki Terai (exterior) and Fumihiro Yaguchi (interior) to evoke friendly and comforting feelings in prospective owners. Press coverage of the Urban EV Concept's styling called it "an adorable homage to some of Honda's first small cars, such as the diminutive Civic hatchbacks of the 1970s" and compared it to other urban cars originally introduced in the 1970s and early 1980s, including the Volkswagen Golf and Polo, Peugeot 205, Fiat 126 and 127, and the Honda N600, pointing out similarities to the styling of the concept vehicle's predecessor, the Honda EV-N concept.
The Urban EV Concept was developed into a 5-door production prototype (named the e Prototype), which had its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019. Its styling is an evolution of the 2017 Urban EV Concept; Honda equipped the 2019 prototype with flush-mounted door handles and compact rear-view cameras on each side to simplify its profile. To facilitate charging from either side, the charging port is located in the middle of the car's bonnet. The final production version of the Honda e made its world debut at IAA 2019 in September 2019, held in Frankfurt, Germany. The Honda e project was led by Kohei Hitomi; the exterior styling team was led by Ken Sahara and the interior styling team was led by Akinori Myoui.
According to Hitomi, the Honda e faced significant resistance from within the company; other executives, concerned about the vehicle's range, argued that a larger battery was needed, but the project team insisted on using a smaller battery to complement the vehicle's small size and urban use. The positive feedback from the Urban EV Concept led to the approval of the production car.
It uses an electric vehicle-specific car platform, named the Honda e platform, based on a rear-motor, rear-wheel-drive layout to facilitate agility and compact proportions for its planned urban market. The water-cooled battery pack is carried within the wheelbase of the car, below the floor to provide a 50/50 weight distribution and a low center of gravity. Driving the rear wheels eliminates torque steer. Agility is aided by torque vectoring. The rear-drive also enables the front wheels to have a greater steering articulation, resulting in a turn radius of approximately 4.3 metres (14 ft). The platform features MacPherson strut independent suspension for each wheel.
On 10 September 2019, Honda announced prices will start at €29,470 for the base model with the 100 kW motor (including local government subsidy) in Germany and GB£26,160 with subsidy in the UK. The more powerful "Advance" grade will start at €32,470 in Germany and GB£28,660 in the UK with the uprated 113 kW motor. Delivery is scheduled to begin in summer 2020.
Specifications and performance
The e features an electric motor at the rear, offering a power output of either 100 or 113 kW (134 or 152 hp; 136 or 154 PS); both variants offer 315 N⋅m (232 lb⋅ft) of torque. According to Honda testing, the car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in approximately 8 seconds. The e will offer a 'Sport Mode' to sharpen the acceleration response, and can be driven in 'Single Pedal Control' mode, where releasing the accelerator will engage the regenerative braking system, slowing the car without using a separate brake pedal. Rumors of a potential higher-performance variant were quashed at the car's debut in Frankfurt.
A 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is claimed to offer a range at around 220 km (137 mi) as per Honda internal data. The Honda e is equipped with a CCS Combo 2 connector, enabling both AC charging and DC fast charging. With DC fast charging, the car can be charged to 80% capacity in 30 minutes. Honda have also announced the pending availability of its Power Charger, which allows a maximum charge rate of 7.4 kW (single-phase) or 22 kW (three-phase), depending on the supplied power. With a 32-amp power supply, the vehicle will charge to 100% capacity using the Power Charger in approximately 4 hours.
The instrument panel, which extends the full width of the interior, consists of five screens, including one dedicated 8.8 in (220 mm) instrument display in front of the driver and two large 12.3 in (310 mm) infotainment touchscreen displays flanked by two smaller 6 in (150 mm) displays for what Honda calls its Side Camera Mirror System. The dual infotainment displays can independently run separate applications and are swappable; they support both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The car is equipped with the Honda Personal Assistant, which uses machine learning to train its voice recognition; voice commands to the car are prefixed with "OK Honda".
Reviewing the e Prototype for Car, Jake Groves wrote that it demonstrated "how electric cars should drive" with a caveat that the test drive took place on a test track in Germany. The "low-ish available range and expected-to-be-lofty price tag" were expected to put the car at a disadvantage compared to with entry-level EV rivals such as the Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Kia e-Niro. James Attwood, reviewing for Autocar, wrote the e Prototype has "nimble handling that fits its credentials as a versatile urban runaround — while offering the sort of fun driving response that should keep anyone already won over by the car's style happy."
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