Honda ups the efficiency game
Honda set a new high water mark in the electric vehicle efficiency game by achieving a 118 mile per gallon equivalent (MPGe) rating. Of the true EVs on the market, or soon to be, this compares to 112 MPGe for the Mitsubishi i, 105 MPGe for the Ford Focus Electric, and 99 MPGe for the Nissan LEAF. EPA labeling provides an 82 mile range for the Fit, 76 for the Focus, 73 for the LEAF and 62 for the i.
Honda is taking an extremely cautious approach to the introduction of their first EV. Initially Honda plans on making the Fit EV available only in select markets in California and Oregon in summer 2012. An expansion to include the East Coast will happen sometime in 2013. While we have seen no number from Honda, other sources we’ve read report that Honda has very conservative targets for the Fit EV – just 1,100 units leased during the first two years of production. Lease payments of $389 per month for 36 months amount to total monthly payments of $14,004. While the LEAF offers a new $289 per month lease, it requires $2,999 out of pocket and the term is 39 months, which brings the total to $14,270. One major difference – Nissan will let you buy the LEAF at the end of the lease term. Honda won’t sell you the Fit.
Compared with a gasoline engined Fit, the Nissan offers slightly more front head room and leg room providing perhaps a little more comfort for taller drivers and passengers. The Fit provides more horsepower but less torque. This should give the Nissan the edge while accelerating onto the freeway or pulling away from a light. Honda chose to go with a 6.6 kilowatt hour onboard charger though, so miles are piled on twice as quickly when shopping at the mall with your car plugged in to a 240 volt charging dock.
Honda should be able to lease all of the Fits that they build if they do plan to limit the build to just over 500 per year. And having another choice in the EV universe will certainly be helpful, as it will draw others into the market that perhaps may consider Honda over Ford, or Mitsu or Nissan. We’ll see this new contender does when it shows up in a few months.