The Honda E Was Originally Planned For The United States

Photo: Raphael Orlove/Jalopnik

There has been a lot of coverage that the wonderful Honda E is not being put on sale in America, but today the car’s project leader revealed that the car was originally intended to be sold here. And that’s not all.

Photo: Raphael Orlove/Jalopnik

The news comes today Kohei Hitomi, large project leader for the Honda E. “I really wanted to have that one as well in the U.S.” he said when I told him I was coming from New York, and wished the car would be sold here. “I personally wanted to see it,” he said again later in the interview, with a hand on his heart. “This car in size... for [an] EV, will be a perfect fit.”

Kohei speaking with another reporter. Photo: Raphael Orlove/Jalopnik

“The U.S. was included in the beginning,” he explained in person at the Tokyo Motor Show through a translator. Three years ago, however, the U.S. got cut out. I asked how far into development the car was at that point. Did the project start five years ago? Seven years ago? “Less than that,” was all I got, and any specifics were a secret.

I pried as much as I could about how much time or money it would take to certify the car for U.S. sales—meeting American safety standards, for instance—but Honda would not speak on any cost questions. I tried to pry further asking how much more would be added to the cost of the car to cover certification, not total price, but again just got a “sorry and Kohei made an X over his mouth. “We are in a tough situation for pricing,” he explained, but he meant for all Honda cars, not just the E.


I asked what concerns Honda had that kept the E out of America if it was that Kohei himself wanted to see it sold here. I asked if it was a sales numbers question, and he agreed. “The biggest worry is maybe there would be no demand.”

What was a surprise, then, Kohei started on his own, was the car’s good reception in the American press, even when the car was released in Europe.


“I somehow expect that what we discussed three years ago may be recovered,” he said with a smile.

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Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.