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
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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.

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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.

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“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.