Honda E: a true technological jewel

Honda E

Honda's new small electric city car won't be a candidate for best value for money or longest range, but it's a technological marvel that features many groundbreaking innovations, while being the first in a whole new class of "Small bonus".

The “e” is exceptionally cute, its performance is very lively, and when you get behind the wheel for the first time you discover a stunningly designed dashboard that might even make Tesla owners envy.

Honda does not intend to sell this car in the United States.

When you look at the various data sources of the dashboard, which fills all the space in front of the driver and front passenger and which is consulted by the TV monitors for the side mirror cameras, you might find some disturbing information. When I got on board, the battery monitor showed it was 97% full, while the range meter only said 170 kilometers. The distance traveled by the Honda e thanks to the 35.5 kWh battery is 220 kilometers. This compares unfavorably to many other new electric cars in this price bracket.

Cars like the Renault Zoe and Peugeot 208 e are priced very close to that of the Honda e but are bigger, and have this huge advantage, almost double, in terms of range. Honda retorts that the interior quality of the “e” is in a higher class and that the technology on offer is also worth paying for. Honda claims that for most daily commuters, the range of 250 km would be more than enough, while its fast charge is first-class. Honda claims it can be recharged to 80% in 30 minutes.

Even the cheapest electric cars, like the Volkswagen eUp and its derivatives, the electric SEAT Mii and the Skoda Citigo e, have a range of almost 275 km. SEAT, based in Spain, and Skoda, domiciled in the Czech Republic, are subsidiaries of VW.

Viktor Irle, Stockholm, Sweden-based analyst and EV volume consultant, said these three electric cars will total around 27,000 copies in Europe this year, with VW accounting for around 13,000, Skoda 5,000. and the rest from SEAT. Like the Honda, none of these vehicles are comfortable on the highway as they start to lose a lot of power at over 65 km / h.

Honda-e on the road

“Sales of the Honda e will slowly increase to around 20,000 to 25,000 units per year (worldwide), with the largest sales being in the domestic (Japanese) market. They will sell around 1,500 copies in Europe this year, and around 4,000 in 2021. The assortment is a bit poor and expensive. It is in Japan and in certain Asian markets that it will perform the best, ”said Mr. Irle.

Meanwhile, Honda has said the “e” propulsion is part of its plan to electrify all of its cars by 2025.

Honda said what they called the minimalist interior was designed to look like a living room.

Honda E interior

“The clean surfaces also feature recessed retractable door handles (like Tesla), while the charging point port is built into the hood. This helps reduce drag and increase the car's overall efficiency, ”Honda said.

The "e" includes what Honda calls a "sector first" camera system for the side mirrors, which are replaced with bullet-shaped cameras on either side, and small screens to the left and right of the board. panel show the rear view. The “e” features advanced technology that until recently would only have been used in German luxury vehicles. The “e” has systems such as Collision Mitigation, which also detects pedestrians in danger, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Aid and Lane Departure Warning.

One of the strengths of the "e" is an improved voice command function. If you say "OK Honda" it will in theory respond to commands such as increasing regenerative braking or tuning the radio. I have heard these claims many times over the years, and so far they have never worked for me. Neither does this one, although the system might recognize your voice with a little time.

The 150 hp Honda e Advanced accelerates from zero to 100 km / h in less than 8 seconds with a top speed of 160 km / h.

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