By on July 2, 2019

Honda has released a few new details regarding its upcoming, and adorable, electric runabout. Based on the Urban EV concept we saw debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017, the Honde E has endured some minor changes. Rounder than before, the vehicle’s headlamps are no longer partially obfuscated by the hood. The tail lights have also been converted to circles, giving the car a slightly goofy — but not unpleasant — external demeanor.

Having opened the (refundable) reservation booklet in May, Honda promised a quintet of color options and a standard side-mounted camera mirror system that effectively makes the model impossible to get in the United States. For now, the Japanese automaker seems content targeting European city dwellers who need more than a bicycle to get around or just happen to be in the market for a cute little electric car that might be a lot of fun to drive.

As this is a still prototype, everything is subject to change (including its name). But Honda has repeatedly insisted that it wants the production version of the E to stick as closely to the original idea as possible.

So far, the manufacturer has done a decent job… even if it did abandon the glorious bench seats we saw in the concept. However Honda’s promising the rear-drive platform’s wide stance and 50:50 weight distribution should deliver “dynamic driving characteristics,” so buckets are probably for the best.

The Honda E’s base — and probably only — motor at launch is said to deliver approximately 150 PS (110 kW/148 hp) of power, with torque being somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 Nm (221 lb-ft). Fed energy from a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, Honda is estimating a 125-mile range (or better). Restoring a depleted battery is said to be “quick,” with customers able to expect 80 percent of the car’s total charge returning in 30 minutes under idyllic circumstances.

No pricing details have been revealed but Europeans can reserve one now. The production version will emerge later this year.

[Images: Honda]

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46 Comments on “The Honda E is Starting to Sound Like a Lot of Fun...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s cute, and it reminds me of the 72-79 Civic.

    But who is really going to buy this thing? 125 miles from 35+ kWh is terribly inefficient (my Ioniq EV gets the same range out of 28 kWh). 80% charging in 30 minutes is standard – not quick.

    This car will be very small inside, and will certainly cost $30-35k. This puts you right in the same company as longer-range cars like the Bolt or a Leaf.

    Besides, Honda will never commit to any volume or serious distribution for it, so most people who might actually want to get one will have trouble doing so.

    Maybe it will be fun to drive, but in fact it will fail, having no effect on the market.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I’d say it looks and sounds like an electric version of my ’85 Civic S1500 hatchback but with WAY more power. Based on that it would be awesome, but yeah nobody in the US is buying one of these – small, cute, fun and electric is a guaranteed flop. People are buying oversized, ugly and numb. As long as gas stays cheap the electric angle isn’t winning people over.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Honda basically addressed the distribution issue (vaguely via PR speak) when they started building prototypes. But the gist is that it doesn’t make sense in America — and not just because of the camera “mirrors.” I’m inclined to agree but that hasn’t made me feel any better about having fewer opportunities to drive one. Would I buy one? Nah.

      Honda management has also talked, at length, about how BEVs should be lightweight city cars and claimed heavier electric vehicles are nonsensical, possibly as a way to rationalize their overall strategy in the West. Toyota and Hyundai staff sang me a similar song while I was testing some of their electrically enhanced products late last year.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        A fatal mistake committed by most EV mfrs is to do market research and then tell consumers what they ‘need’.

        Nissan’s early research on commuting patterns revealed that 90% of people drive 50 miles or less per day – or some such thing. Therefore, the Leaf 1.0 with its 73-mile EPA range was designed to fit that demographic. I had one, and it was OK most of the time. But winter range could drop by half, and the battery degraded terribly.

        EV polls are notoriously optimistic, with upwards of half of respondents saying they’d consider an EV in the next 5 years – which is simply crap.

        Except for people like me (who can rationalize a 124-mile EV for my needs), the true answer in EV land is *always* going to be “more”. A frugal city car can go 500-600 miles on a tank of gas. It’s hard to convince consumers that they should get a car with 20% of that range for a price premium.

        So it’s laughable that Honda has decided that EVs need to be small and light, while market tastes are clearly in the other direction.

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          “A fatal mistake committed by most EV mfrs is to do market research and then tell consumers what they ‘need’.” Apple has done well with this, but not sure if EV manufacturers do this, nor what is “fatal”.

          Tesla will deliver about 100,000 cars this quarter, the LeAF is the best selling EV in history, and, indeed, most (over 90%) of car trips are under 40miles.

          Honda seems to be targeting Europe, where charging stations are more prevalent, limitations on ICE in urban areas are getting stricter and more expensive, and where filthy socialists earn more and have more disposable income.

          Not sure what the problem is here.

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      Leaf, Ioniq, Kona are €33-36k in Germany, Bolt (Opel Ampera-E) €43k, if they could sell that Honda for, say, $32k=€28k there would be takers.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        @Manic:
        Yes, that’s pretty much the ballpark I’m counting on the Honda hitting, otherwise I’m cancelling my order. For a well equipped one I’m actually prepared to pay around 34k€ even though that’s too much, but thanks to high demand I’ll still be better off financially than if I bought a harder-depreciating, higher-taxed ICE car.

        The market is manipulated by taxation and regulation, unfortunately. That’s the only reason I bought my EV and PHEV, and that’s the only reason I’m interested in the Honda E.

        • 0 avatar
          Lockstops

          EDIT: Actually I won’t pay 34k€, maybe 31k€ max. It’ll depend on what the competition is like and how much Honda will supply when it’s time to confirm the order. Because since competition will be around 25k€ with their more basic econobox FWD cars, the Honda should be worth several thousand more plus I’m expecting standard equipment to be a bit above those cheap EVs (since it has all that digital stuff like huge screens as standard).

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Rumors are that the Honda e will go for €40k. Crazy.

        • 0 avatar
          Lockstops

          The i3 starts at 38k€ (in Germany) with a bigger battery, carbon fibre body, more power etc and of course being the other RWD electric car (might have less standard equipment though). I hope Honda can get the price to be realistic instead.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I don’t get it. Living in the city usually involves on-street parking. There aren’t any electrical outlets on the street.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Now that’s a good point.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      This has been an ongoing problem with EVs that target young, urban dwellers. These people usually live in apartments, where are they to plug their EVs into? I picture long extension cords running from apartment buildings out onto the street

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        240V x 20A plugs on the outside wall of the building or in the lot, with a 10/3 extension cord running to the car. If you derate to 16A, that’s 4kW of power, so an overnight recharge can cover anything up to 32kWh.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I read an article the other day that stated people are beginning to migrate outward away from the cities and toward suburbia again. That may solve the apartment plug-in dilemma of the inner cities.

        In Manhattan, NY, NY, where my youngest brother lives, he had to pay $600 to have a dedicated single 110volt outlet (with meter) installed for his parking space inside his building’s parking garage. He had a Leaf at that time.

        Problem was, during the night, when his Leaf was plugged in, people would pull the Leaf’s plug, use his outlet for whatever, and then not plug in his Leaf again when they finished.

        And on the street, if he found a charging station, it was usually in-use, with the driver of the BEV nowhere in sight. In other places the charging station was blocked by delivery vans or trucks, or a non-BEV was parked in the spot.

        It got to be so frustrating for him that he ended up selling the Leaf to his buddy in Huntsville, AL, who drove down in his Ford pickup truck, rented a U-Haul car-carrier trailer, and hauled that Leaf off.

        My brother shot a video of that on his iPad. It was funny!

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I like this a lot, but for me it needs to be a hybrid or combustion engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      European cities have started installing charging stations for street-parked vehicles though (was in Copenhagen last year, saw plenty of vehicles being charged).

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      There were chargers all over Paris

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        They would have to fill Paris pretty full of chargers for it to really make it bearable for street-parkers, and note that they’d have to also be in the lower-income residential areas and not just in the tourist areas.

        I really like the idea that Fiat has with its upcoming Panda: very small battery that gives you only about 60km range IIRC or something very limited anyway, and then for long trips you can drive by a place that loads up a few more batteries into your car giving it a long range! Not sure if that’ll materialise, but it’s a brilliant idea.

  • avatar
    Lockstops

    The first mid-price or affordable-ish RWD EV? I reserved one right away just now. Thanks TTAC for the heads up.

    It’s only 800€ and refundable. Hoping to sell it at a profit in one of the European countries where these won’t be for sale at the same time as where I put the order in, so most likely someone will be willing to pay a thousand or two to get one early. If all other EV deliveries are an indicator, then this one too will not have enough supply to satisfy demand at least in the beginning.

    Not sure about the power, but the Japanese way seems to be to under-deliver on that front. Maybe it’ll be enough for a daily runabout.

    Hopefully the suspension will be firm enough, looks loose in the driving videos that have just now started to surface. Too bad all the first reviewers are typical EV guys meaning that they are definitely not really car guys… They don’t help at all in trying to find out what it’s like to drive. Still, that’s not a major issue since sports springs (or full spring&damper kits) will be available very quickly and will not cost much.

    The tire size on the driving test prototype (which they said is 99.9% same as the production car will be) was 205/45R17, on the optional wheel set. I guess that’ll do. I hope that I can fit a bit wider tires in there though… Standard base model wheels/tires are 16 inches.

    Battery is big enough for what an EV is supposed to do, but a bit disappointing. At least if the screen of one prototype that was available to journalists for driving tests is to be believed: it showed “48% battery = 51km”!! In our colder climate that will sink much further and that means this will be city only. Especially if the battery heating system isn’t very well designed. That 48% = 51km could be due to how it was tested by journalists that day, but it’s a bit alarming if you can get to such low numbers just by driving around cones, though it’s possible they’ve been enduring hundreds of acceleration tests. Anyways, if the battery is any bigger and it’ll get too heavy. Maybe it’s too heavy already, it’s not a good sign that they have not said anything about weight.

    100kW charging is great. Anyone see any news on AC charging capabilities?

    Most important will be the question: does the ESP have a sports mode allowing some slip angle and/or can it be completely turned off?

    If I decide to keep mine for myself, I’ll name it Murphy Group.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      Oh yes, and that charging port location is a guaranteed fail! After a long winter night it will be full of snow, and in some conditions it will be a solid block of ice!! So it won’t just be an inconvenience but will require work to sort out the situation and get going…

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The 205/45R17 tires partially explain the crappy range. That’s a bit too wide and heavy for a runabout EV. Tires have a substantial effect on range.

      I haven’t read anything about 100 kW charging – are you sure about that? If that number is real, you’d fill much more quickly than 80% in 30 minutes. That speed seems more like 50 kW charging.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        Fully Charged stated that it’s 100kW charging. I was wondering about that too, but then I remembered that the charging time for the i3, which has 50kW charging was as following (slightly iffy data, but it’s thereabouts at least):
        i3 60Ah (22kW total battery, 18.8kW utilised) charging time is 20min, but for charging to 80%, not 100%.
        i3 120Ah (42.2kW total battery, 37.9kW utilised) has a declared charging time of 45min to 80%.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “The 205/45R17 tires partially explain the crappy range.”

        It might depend on the particular tire vs. size. I’m getting 4.5 to 4.8 miles per kWh at 55 to 65 MPH on 215/50R17’s. About 5.2 at 40 to 50 MPH. Also, the i3 was EPA rated at only 3.6 mile/kWh on those stupid motorcycle tires.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Lockstops: “typical EV guys meaning that they are definitely not really car guys…” That’s not true. I’d say it’s more true for fossil buyers. Most EV buyers get them for the instant torque and performance. I talk with plenty of them and that’s the reason. If EV buyers aren’t into cars, why are the faster better performing models selling better than the slow ones like the Bolt and Leaf? Also, are you saying Alex Roy isn’t a car guy?

      https://www.thedrive.com/opinion/27490/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-buy-a-tesla?iid=sr-link1

      “Battery is big enough for what an EV is supposed to do, but a bit disappointing”

      EVs are supposed to do everything that ICE vehicles do. They’re not just city cars. Perhaps you were unaware that there are EVs with 320 to 360 miles range. More than enough for long-distance travel in the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        Sorry, but EV guys are definitely hardly ever car guys. Your instant torque and performance is exactly like buying an automatic car in the 90’s: they do it because it’s easier, requires no skill or concentration. Just sit there and mash the pedal.

        I know lots of ‘EV guys’ from all around and very seldom do I hear actual interest in actual driving experience or real performance. The only thing they regurgitate is acceleration numbers, but not because they’re really interested in it but because the thing that they just bought (and have invested a lot of their ego into) is good at it. If EVs were good at something else entirely then they would be gushing about that and would consider that to be the most important thing in a car…

        Hardly ever does an EV guy have the faintest clue about ICE tech or other car tech. They read Tesla stuff in blogs and are like the 12 year old who first experienced the Beatles or ‘insert legendary band name here’ and start trying to teach others about their ‘discovery’.

        Actually I’m very sure that lots of EV guys love to own an EV which they feel is superior to ICE cars precisely because they hate car culture and ‘car guys’, therefore feel they finally get a ‘win’ over them… It’s like the nerds feeling like they finally got to outperform the jocks. They definitely don’t consider themselves to be interested in sports or whatever the jocks are into = sports/muscle cars, instead they feel ecstatic because they think they’ve finally crushed the jocks in their own game and feel that they are crushing the whole jock scene. That’s why so many EV guys are so dismissive of the whole ICE tech, calling it dinosaur tech etc… They feel they’ve finally won…against their enemy.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Delusion is such a sad thing to watch.

          • 0 avatar
            Tele Vision

            ‘Car Guy’ to me means appreciating handling/braking/acceleration, of course, but it also encompasses the desire and ability to wrench on ones’ car. To wit: I started helping my Dad change plugs at the age of six. At twelve I helped install headers on his Chevy van. Since then I’ve done nearly all of my car work myself, short of dropping a transmission or pulling an engine – both of which I’ve done numerous times on dirt bikes. And lawnmowers. And a snowblower. Oh, and a Honda Odyssey – the cool one, not the only slightly less-so cool minivan. The mental picture I have of future ‘car guys’ is a group of dudes peering at their phones, downloading ‘tunes’ for their one-moving-part powertrains. A sad thought, to be sure, but I’m also sure that the steam aficionados thought the same of the ICE guys.

            I won’t buy an electric car, as I live in the country and have to have the wherewithal to punch through snowdrifts six months of the year. An electric truck, perhaps. And a better phone, I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @Lockstops: You’ve bought into the stereotype. But for your own sake, stop embarrassing yourself with misinformed comments like that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lockstops

            Nothing points to EVs being machines for ‘car guys’, and everything points to EV aficionados having absolutely no ‘car guy’ history.

            Sure, most of the male population think that they are ‘car guys’, but that doesn’t mean that they are that.

            I know people who are car guys from all kinds of angles, from WRC drivers, to single-seater guys, to wrenchers, to sports car purists, to journalists, to engineers, to automotive company executives, to classic restorers etc. etc. and none of them have waxed lyrical about EVs except a few exceptions (revealed as poor misguided saps) very briefly during the novelty period. They have had all kinds of daily drivers and ‘wives cars’ like basic Volvo wagons, transporter vans, you name something lame someone has tootled around in it, but they haven’t thought that those things are ‘car guy’ driving machines that set the soul on fire or ‘make ICE cars obsolete’.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          I’m currently driving a PHEV, and I love the way it works in town. I also have 14 years of SCCA club racing under my belt. Is that car guy enough for you?

          The only disadvantage to something like this is that it’s not good for track duty.

          • 0 avatar
            Lockstops

            You seem to have missed what the issue is about: It started out when I said that the ‘EV types’, the journalists who only cover EVs and basically know nothing else about cars were given early access and they didn’t even find it important enough to really mention the handling, or really test it. So that was not a good source of info for car guys to hear about what the handling will be like.

            I too have some racing under my belt, lots of track days, autocross, all kinds of training, 2-wheeled stuff, even just increased the tow rating on my license, am looking for a project car to wrench on. I got an EV and a PHEV (because of subsidies and curiosity). You and I are very different to the ‘EV guys’, who really are not car guys. You and I most probably also care about handling and such issues and consider them important info. We know the benchmarks, we know what numerous different things make up what a car is like. They have no clue, only Elektrek blogs about EVs and often no clue about ICE cars, how they work, how they’re manufactured (haha), or anything else than Tesla-marketed headline figure acceleration numbers.

  • avatar
    AdamOfAus

    Very cool. Now if the interior could not be made out of super nasty plastics…

  • avatar
    AdamOfAus

    Very cool. Now if the interior could not be made out of super nasty plastics…

  • avatar
    pbx

    ” with customers able to expect 80 percent of the car’s total charge returning in 30 minutes under idyllic circumstances.”

    What if it were not some extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque circumstance? How long would it take if you were in some blighted urban area in the rain?

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    The design is absolutely wonderful, but the 125 mile (200 km) range relegate this car to mostly city driving or at the very lease short trips out of town. And I imagine 200 km is the range on paper. The moment the driver turns on the radio or the air conditioning system, at least 60 km of range probably disappear.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      You can do a lot of city driving with that range.

      Worst for EVs is of course fast motorway/highway driving since that increases battery drain so badly, but that is helped by the Honda’s strong 100kW charger. So if not too frequent, long trips are doable. Depends a lot on the driver. I, for example, want to drive fast so I would drain the battery significantly sooner than someone who can bear sitting among the trucks ‘hypermiling’… But then again I am also the type who can bear planning optimal charging stops and am not impatient about charging, someone else might consider that a deal-breaker.

      What is for sure is that you’re right that it’s a completely different experience on longer trips or even a long day with lots of driving in the city (when range anxiety sets in or even a mid-day charging stop is needed) than a very much cheaper ICE car. That’s for sure. Especially in colder climates in the winter since the range will plummet. Then again it does add a some comfort compared to cheap ICE cars since they don’t usually have auxiliary heaters you can turn on with a phone app.

      For cold climates it could be that a huge factor will be if it comes with a heat pump, at least as an option (like BMW i3). That saves massive amounts of electricity but once again is expensive.

      Without subsidies and the high resale value still supported by EV novelty enthusiasm the Honda makes absolutely no sense to buy, not even nearly.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Give me one set up towards handling with a “more power” mode and SI badges and I’d buy it. Fits my commute range and I have an F150 and the wife’s car to go farther should I need to.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    The front end reminds me of my late dog Molly when I would take her to the vet or doggy day care, which she hated. Her glassy eyed terrified stare is too close for comfort.
    https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/818x527q90/922/kfqC3r.jpg
    The red lips, eye rims, and tongue were a giveaway she was in panic mode. You can’t see her turning red nose in the pic, but it was readily noticable in person. Poor Molly, her only comfort zone was in her backyard.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I think it’s likely that they can’t build enough to sell them here. Honda is a bit player in Europe. Scaling this up to meet even modest US demand would probably require a significantly larger investment in production facilities given Honda’s sales in the US. Yes also they’d probably have to Americanized it with respect to range as so called urban cars don’t do that well here.

    Can we just get a Fit that looks like this?

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    RWD e for warm climates only! No AWD version available! Weight is 50-50 may or may not help in snow?

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      I live near the arctic circle, and I’ve never had anything but RWD vehicles. In places with massive amounts of snowfall and poor road maintenance, or in remote locations AWD might be desirable, but in most of northern areas RWD is the best choice IMO!!

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Agreed on AWD. I’ve never had it, while driving 40 years in the snow belt. No thank you to the added complexity and fuel consumption, in exchange for the 1% of the time when it might be helpful.

        I haven’t had RWD since 1996 due to the type of vehicles I’ve bought, but I would have one again.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          How about that A/C? Don’t need it, but it’s sure nice to have on a day like today (90 in southern Wisconsin)

          Well, that’s how I feel about AWD, don’t NEED it, but when you’re 40 miles from home and it starts snowing real hard it sure is nice to have :)

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        AWD makes quite a bit of sense where snowfall is occasional. You can wear out your winter tires waiting for a snow forecast to come true in the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Once they’re bald, the snow will finally show up and your town’s inadequate snow removal gear will see you snowed in for a week, unless you’ve got something with ground clearance and traction. As for the salt, my inept hometown dumps it all on the road for the first chance of snow.

        If I lived somewhere with a real winter, I would spend that winter with snow tires fitted to all four wheels of whatever makes sense. If it’s a place where snow removal is competent, then I may or may not have something with AWD. There really are places where AWD and all season tires are a good answer though.


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