LA Show 2011 Highlights: 2013 Honda Fit EV

Introduced at the Los Angeles auto show, the Honda Fit EV joins the Scion iQ, Fiat 500, and Chevy Spark in the tiny-cars-that-have-been-converted-to-run-on-batteries brigade. But the Fit EV's rollout, set to begin next summer, will be small and contained: Honda expects to produce and distribute only about 1100 of the cars over the next three years, first in California and Oregon, and then in six to-be-announced East Coast markets.

The production model shown at the Los Angeles auto show is, as expected, very similar to the concept that debuted one year ago at the same show. Contrary to our predictions, the glowing charge port remains, as do EV-specific decals, although the latter's size and garishness have been reduced. The aerodynamic rear spoiler and unique rocker panels remain as well, while the front fascia has been modified slightly to incorporate a chrome smiley face and less-obvious cooling apertures. The car will be offered only in the color seen here: Reflection Blue Pearl.

The Fit EV is powered by a 123-hp electric motor that's based on the one in Honda's FCX Clarity fuel-cell electric sedan, and is fed juice by a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery. Honda claims the onboard 6.6-kW, 32-amp charger can top off the pack in less than three hours on 240-volt power. That's slightly better than the claimed time for Ford's Focus Electric, which should need a little longer to charge its slightly higher-capacity battery. (Both should beat the Nissan Leaf's charge times.) Honda projects a 123-mile city range and a combined-driving total of 76 miles on a full charge.

Like Honda's hybrids, the Fit EV will have three driving modes—Normal, Sport, and Econ—that govern the behavior of the accelerator pedal and other systems. A full telematics suite (not unlike the one Nissan packages with the Leaf) will allow monitoring of the vehicle's state of charge, charge scheduling, and climate-control pre-conditioning via smartphone or computer. Honda also will include a remote control that can display charge and climate-control status, initiate and terminate charging, and switch on the A/C. It only works within a 100-foot range of the vehicle, though, so its usefulness will mostly be limited to saving the driver trips out to the garage when the car is parked at home.

While most changes to the interior are minimal-bio-fabrics used on the seats, colored gauge illumination to match the driving mode-stuffing the batteries under the floor necessitated a couple of big changes. The Fit's trick flat-folding rear seat is gone; now the back cushion folds, but the bottom is fixed. And the floor is two to three inches higher in the EV than in conventional Fits, which raises the H-point—how high off the ground the driver's hips are—and reduces headroom. Luckily, the Fit is well-endowed in that measure.

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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