By on September 4, 2019

Honda’s upcoming electric city car, destined for consumers in tightly-packed cities in Europe and Japan, has a significant fan base among online North Americans. To this group of consumers, the Honda E is the antithesis of Tesla — minus the emissions-free driving.

While the Honda E also aims to get drivers out of internal combustion cars, it goes about it in a different way. For one thing, it’s an EV fielded by a robust and profitable automaker. Sales and service should not bring a Honda buyer any worry, nor should the automaker’s balance sheet. The wee Honda aims to attract Earth-savers with modest proportions, modest price (for an EV), and modest range, with attainability and retro looks being its biggest non-ideological selling points. For all of this, the little car has earned much love from car watchers living on the wrong side of the ocean.

Ahead of its Frankfurt debut, Honda has finally revealed the E’s specifications.

Will it go faster than any car you’ve driven and feature hands-off driving that isn’t really hands-off driving? No. It is a personal commuting car, first and foremost.

The E comes in two power flavors: 134 horsepower and 152 horsepower, with 232 lb-ft of torque on tap no matter which motor you select. Sixty-two miles per hour (100 km/h) should be reached in about 8 seconds — not a screamer, but hardly a slouch.

Honda’s subcompact five-door EV makes use of a 35.5kWh battery pack for its energy reserves; given the car’s small footprint, there was only so much room for battery cells while still affording decent interior volume and cargo space. The automaker estimates range at 137 miles, which places the E slightly ahead of the Volkswagen e-Golf but behind such vehicles as the Nissan Leaf (and significantly behind every long-range EV out there, including the Hyundai Kona Electric). An 80-percent charge can be accomplished in 36 minutes at a 50 kWh plug-in, Honda claims. Dial that back to 30 minutes if you come across a 100 kWh charger.

What the E lacks in range, which Honda deems suitable for European commuting distances, it makes up for in roadgoing prowess. Boasting a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, the E routes its electric power to the rear wheels, where torque vectoring keeps the thing manageable in hard cornering. And the cornering can indeed be hard, as the battery pack affords the E a low center of gravity.

That sound you hear is eco- and cost-conscious Americans salivating at the prospect of tossing the E around on their way to work.

We’ve covered the other aspects of the E experience before — from its dual 12.3-inch touchscreens to the inclusion of the automaker’s Honda Personal Assistant service. Side cameras replace mirrors, a feature that, at least for the time being, is a no-no in the U.S.

While the E’s pricing is not yet known, Honda aims to make the car attainable for the young, urban buyers it’s already wooing. Reservations for priority ordering are already being accepted from consumers in the UK, Germany, France, and Norway. For North American customers, Honda has something else up its sleeve — a series of larger, rear-drive EVs underpinned by a new global electric architecture.

Don’t expect to get your hands on one for at least a few more years.

[Image: Honda]

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20 Comments on “Admire It from Afar: Honda Reveals Specs for the ‘E’...”

  • avatar

    Somebody finally realized that you don’t have to put the motor up front.

  • avatar

    A 35.5 kWh battery pack. Hmm, I figure that is about like having 3-4 gallons of gasoline, which is pretty useful in the real world for a city runabout.

    Electric cars are slowly getting better.

    (The straight energy content is equal to only 1 gallon, but consider that electric motors are nominally about 90% efficiency and gasoline engines about 30%, and also consider you can use a bit of that electricity twice with regenerative braking in normal driving- leaving “hypermiling” out of the napkin math for now.)

    • 0 avatar

      And you also get, or at least some do, a non-smelly gas pump in your garage…. This is the sort of thing a BE drive train make sense for. Much beyond that, and you’ll want infrastructure provided power to both propel and recharge.

  • avatar

    When you toss around units of power, time, and energy, you need to have a working knowledge of physics. You probably meant kilowatts, not kilowatt-hours.

    • 0 avatar

      Uh, you mean the charging station rates, right?

      Part of me would like to label them in a more obfuscating manner: one of them charges at 50 kw·h/hr and the other at 100 kw·hr/h


  • avatar

    It’s an okay car, but it is so disappointing compared to the concept that I wish the concept never existed.

  • avatar

    Thank you for writing “ocean” instead of “pond”.

  • avatar

    “What the E lacks in range, which Honda deems suitable for European commuting distances,”

    The average American only drives 41 miles a day so it’s plenty of range for even most Americans especially if you’re in a two car family.

    I think the risk for Honda is that there is more of a market for electric cars as a luxury and performance technology. As an example BWM has had far less luck with the i3 than Tesla has had with the M3 equivalent Model 3 Performance. It may have made more business sense to build an electric Acura TLX size vehicle with a 350 mile range that goes 0-60 in 2.8 seconds than to build an economy runabout.

    • 0 avatar

      “The average American only drives 41 miles a day..”

      And the average temperature in America in a year, is in the low to mid 50s. Which tells you precious little about what clothes it makes sense for Americans to buy……..

  • avatar
    Greg Hamilton

    I think what the Tesla fanboys really like is the raw acceleration of their cars. That’s what sets them apart, and I think that’s what will be necessary to sell an electric car at a premium to their ICE version in the U.S. anyway. I don’t know about Europe.

    So when Honda brings it to the U.S. just put in a bigger motor and battery and I’m sure it will be successful.

  • avatar

    There is a niche market for golf carts that are legal on 35mph and slower public roads in some places in the U.S.

    The big question is how much room there is for this car in the U.S. market, which already has the Leaf.

    • 0 avatar

      It would sell well here, were it not for the archaic mandated franchise dealer “system,” which is kept around to enrich the idle but connected, by protecting them from competition from their more efficient betters.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh man, you just hit a nerve with me! Posts like yours make me wish there was a “like” button.

        My latest car is a four year old, used, bought from a national chain of used car peddlers with a no haggle price policy and a location in practically every every city. One day I walked in, drove a similar car from the local dealer’s inventory, ordered the one I wanted from the national inventory, and a few days later I went to pick it up. Nobody tried to “put me in a car today” to move a unit from their local inventory, nobody tried to get me on the dealer’s financing, no fuss, no games, no harassment. The entire process went exactly how I thought it would, it met my expectations, and I went away a satisfied customer.

        The last car I bought new, eleven years ago, I bought using one of those pre-negotiated price things from my bank- yet the salesman tried to haggle over the price that his own dealer had negotiated months before, pretended not to know about the program, wanted to know what monthly payment I had in mind or what I was asking for my “trade in” (rental car- ha!), and tried to upsell all the other usual dealer crap.

        The building interior, sales staff uniforms, and niceness of the inventory out on the lots of both places was comparable. I really don’t think one or the other system is making money hand over fist or clearly more profitable. As a consumer, I can say with certainty where my money is going next time I buy a car.

        Hey, where is old Ruggles at these days??

        But seriously, we do not need a “like” button on TTAC. I was being facetious about that earlier.

  • avatar

    I love both the styling and the concept of this. It manages to remove the dork factor that afflicts most current small EVs (including our Bolt). Honestly it could do 99% of what the Bolt does for us, likely for cheaper, and RWD would make up to some degree for the loss of power.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This car looks very much like a Fiat 500.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Don’t expect to get your hands on one for at least a few more years.”

    With its class-lagging specs, nobody will want one by then – or today – except for the attraction of the Honda brand for some folks.

  • avatar

    Sure, Steph. I believe you that there’s a huge pool of people who just LOVE a hypothetical Honda with the range and speed of a last-gen Nissan Leaf but just HATE Teslas. Super credible.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a pool of people who likes BEVs, but which still “hate” driving around in their parents’ Tesla. From a practicality POV, aside from some very static and thought through usages; if you need more range than this provides, you’re unlikely to be a good candidate (at least for purely practical reasons) for any BEV at all.

  • avatar

    It would be great without that black panel on the hood.

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