By on November 17, 2011

Between the tsunamis, floods, and poorly-received Civic, Honda has had  a rough 2011. But the brand is hoping to put all that behind it by emphasizing its environmentally-friendly product portfolio, announcing a Fit EV which will be made available in California, Oregon and six east coast markets next summer. Unlike Nissan, however, Honda isn’t actually selling the electric commuter cars, but is offering them at a $399/month lease rate. And no wonder: Honda only expects 1,000 of these Fit EVs to find homes over the next three years, probably due at least in part to its north-of-$36k price point. Which may be why the natural gas-powered Civic GX just won the Green Car Of The Year award for Honda. It may not be as radical or purely “green” as a pure EV, but it can sell in volume… in fact, Wards Auto [sub] just reported that Honda is bumping production of the CNG Civic in order to catch up with demand. At a time when Honda is desperate for some good news (and nobody is losing their mind over the new CR-V), a little publicity for one of Honda’s most unique and under-marketed vehicles probably feels like manna from heaven…

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12 Comments on “Honda Launches Fit EV, But Civic GX Takes Green Car Prize...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    A: Enough trunk space for a handbag

    Q: What does the Fit have that the Civic GX doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      6.1 cubic feet – that is small! I see quite a few of the previous generation Civic NGVs here in San Diego. I didn’t know the gas tank was in the trunk. It is said to hold the equivalent of 8.03 gallons of gasoline by the way, and the EPA MPGe is 31 combined. While 240 miles of(most likely very achievable) range is nothing to sneeze at compared to any EV, giving up more than half the trunk room and 40% of the range compared to the very efficient and less expensive Civic HF is only attractive if you can gas up at home extremely cheaply. Is that the case?

      • 0 avatar

        How many CNG civics do they expect to sell?

        I can’t remember why, but I know there’s a high demand for CNG cars in Utah.

        inconveniences aside, I’d consider one of these long before I’d consider an EV.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        They have 600 orders and plan to build 2,000 cars. Whether that is pre-increase or not isn’t clear.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Gassing up at home is a little bit cheaper, but it requires a very expensive piece of equipment that I think Honda used to sell but doesn’t any longer.

        I’m not completely sure that CNG makes sense at the residential level. For fleets, yes, but for normal people a hybrid is probably a better choice.

        That said, I would totally buy a Corvette and convert it.

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      “Q: What does the Fit have that the Civic GX doesn’t.”

      an $11k CNG premium

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    These CNG cars are going into fleets where they have one central filling station. Nobody in their right mind wants to deal with the expense and inconvenience of the installation and operation of a natural gas compressor at one’s home, not to mention the added risk of fire/explosion from gas leaks.

    And it’s a long wait and then a tow-truck ride back to the filling station when one runs out of fuel.

  • avatar
    bolhuijo

    Here in CA, this car qualifies for the white sticker that gives you single-occupant access to HOV lanes. You better believe there are a few willing to go through the fueling hassle for that little benefit.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    $399/month lease? I will bet that a real Fit, and $4 gas still come out ahead.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    I dunno, guys, CNG seems to work for the Australians, and they are much more sparsely populated than the US.

    I remember as a young boy a certain municipality in the Twin Cities had a city-owned CNG pump in my neighborhood that regular citizens could buy CNG from (by contract, and thus, paid by a monthly assessment and/or bill) for equivalent of $.69/gal.

    Of course, this was in about 1989, and sort of went by the wayside after the first Gulf War (remember $.89 to $1.09/gal for 93 octane? I DO, thanks Bush 41!).

    In a world of hydraulic frakking in ND and MT bringing the price of CNG down precipitously (compared to gasoline/diesel), I would’nt be surprised if these starting popping up occasionally from automakers other than Honda.

  • avatar
    Michal

    Australians use LPG (propane/butane) not CNG, which is still very rare and only a handful of buses and fleet vehicles use it.

    Even with a much cheaper LPG price (55c/L versus $1.40/L for petrol) the local LPG industry is slowly dying. People are apathetic about saving quite a large amount of money when the payback period on installation costs is usually a couple years or more away. Government subsidies for the LPG installation industry are falling away as well.

    I believe India and Pakistan are the leading CNG vehicle users. When I visited India most of the three wheeler taxis used CNG while the rest were LPG.


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