Honda set to release its first mass-produced EV in Japan
The Honda e vehicle is a compact model meant solely for city driving. This is in contrast to Tesla’s Model 3 sedan which currently dominates the EV market, and others such as Audi AG and Hyundai Motor Company focused on SUVs with long driving ranges.
High battery costs have meant EVs have remained at the premium end of the car market, with many automakers developing bigger, all-purpose models, some of which can drive as far as 570 kilometres on a single charge.
The Honda e has a battery capacity of around half of the Model 3, with around 280 kilometres per charge. “Most EVs use large capacity batteries, however, much of that capacity goes unused during city driving,” said Tomofumi Ichinose, Chief Engineer of the Honda e, speaking to reporters. “We question whether larger vehicles are appropriate for urban areas, and believe that smaller is a better option for cities.”
The two-door Honda e is aimed as an upmarket city carm with a price tag of around US$39,000, it is higher in price than Renault’s Zoe ZE50, which has more room and a longer driving range.
Ichinose added that Honda engineers had prioritised accurate and sharp handling to allow for easy u-turns in narrow streets. This meant that side mirrors were replaced with interior displays to avoid bumps and scrapes during parking.
The model is set to go on sale in late October, but will only be sold in Europe and Japan. The automaker anticipates sales of around 10,000 in Europe and 1,000 in Japan, where it is also set to launch the model into its car sharing fleet.