The Honda e four-passenger urban electric car is scheduled to go on sale in early 2020, with full-production-spec versions on display at the Frankfurt auto show in September. Honda says it has already received more than 31,000 “expressions of interest” in the car. Prospective buyers can secure “priority status” in the delivery queue for a refundable deposit of £800. The Honda e will be built in Japan and sold in the UK, France, Germany, and Norway.
Here are the latest technical details. The Honda e will have a liquid-cooled 35.5 kWh battery mounted Tesla-style beneath the floor of the passenger compartment and between the wheels. A range of 200 km is expected. It will come with both a Type 2 AC and a CCS2 DC rapid charging port. An 80% charge in just 30 minutes will be possible using the CCS connection.
Here are some other interesting tidbits: The fully independent suspension will utilize forged aluminum components to reduce the weight of the car. The electric motor will power the rear wheels. Weight distribution between the front and rear wheels is said to be 50/50. The combination of sophisticated suspension, low center of gravity, and ideal front/rear balance suggests the car will offer excellent handling.
About the only question Honda hasn’t answered yet is, how much will one cost? The answer is, we don’t know. But Honda e project manager Kohei Hitomi tells Autocar it is “important” for the car to be affordable, but also adds, “A low price is not always a guarantee of success. When you look at Apple products, they are not cheap, but everyone wants to have them because of their added value. We believe it is the same for the electric vehicle.” Expect prices equivalent to a Tesla Model 3 or a BMW i3, advises UK news site The Week.
A price the same as a Model 3 for a car that only has 200 km of range? That seems a bit of a stretch. Hitomi says, “We believe the range is sufficient for this segment of car. Some potential customers might not be satisfied but when you think about bigger range and a bigger battery, it has drawbacks in terms of packaging. It’s a balance.”
No Side View Mirrors
Honda confirms its new electric car will come without traditional sideview mirrors. Instead, a camera mounted to each front door will send images to two screens mounted on the ends of the dashboard. Drivers will be able to select between normal and wide-angle views.
The company says the camera system cuts aerodynamic drag from conventional mirrors by 90% and are 10% better at providing drivers with an accurate view of what’s going on outside the car. In all, they lower the drag of the car by 3.8%, which helps maximize range.
Touchscreens Everywhere You Look
Minimalistic in exterior design, the Honda e has a full complement of configurable touchscreens in the interior. Two 12″ units stretch across the dashboard, set off by wood-like accents. The range may be a trifle on the low side but the people inside will be treated to one of the most modern cockpits of any car on the road today.
Will people flock to buy them when they finally become available? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.