If you want an electric car, there are the Teslas, which are nice but too expensive, much like the BMW i3. There is the Honda Clarity, which is insanely boring, like the Chevy Bolt and Volt and Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq. Then there is the Fiat 500e, which is getting closer to what you want. Because what you want is the new Honda e.
The Honda e has a good name. And the design looks good. It is also a small car, which is the only correct choice. It comes in five delightful colors. And today, Honda revealed some claimed power numbers, saying that the e will deliver up to 148 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque.
Those numbers aren’t impressive on their own—the Bolt, to give some comparison, makes a claimed 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque—but remember this is a small car, and intended to be light. Those power numbers should be enough, and since, like all EVs, the e will deliver that torque instantly, you can expect the e to be zippy.
The e’s range is “over 200 km,” per Honda, or about 125 miles, which also isn’t terribly impressive, but this car is for urban commuters, not road trips. In any case, Honda says that e can charge 80 percent of its battery in 30 minutes.
With the battery located low under the vehicle floor, the car’s centre of gravity is approximately 50cm from the ground. With a 50:50 weight distribution, wide yet compact size and short overhangs at the front and rear, the Honda e delivers an optimal balance of stability and handling performance to the compact electric car segment.
To help deliver a sporty character, power is delivered through the rear wheels, which also enables a greater steering articulation for the front wheels. As a result, the turning radius is approximately 4.3 metres, ensuring the Honda e is exceptionally manoeuvrable in small city streets.
Will this car ever come to America? Probably not. It’s intended for Europe and too refined and sensible and good looking to stand much of a chance here. Take Honda’s opinion on the range wars, for example.
“If we look at the market at the moment,” says [Kohei Hitomi, Honda’s project lead for the e Prototype], “there is a trend where manufacturers are competing with each other with driving range. Consequently, batteries are getting bigger and heavier.
“From Honda’s perspective, this is counterproductive, because that makes cars bigger and impractical for city usage. We believe a range of more than 200km with charging up to 80 per cent in 30 minutes is practical for daily usage – not always carrying a huge and heavy battery around for maybe that one time at the end of the week where you have to drive long distance.”
Big? Impractical? Heavy? Buying much more car than you actually need? There’s nothing more American that that, which is why, in reality, we don’t even deserve the e. I can still dream, though. And don’t sleep on the side cameras.