Since even before its debut, the Honda E has been showered with the kind of praise the American media usually reserves for controversial topics that split the nation, despite the model not being sold here. That’s likely fine. While its visual charms are undeniable, its small stature and electric powertrain probably wouldn’t do it any favors on the U.S. market. We could see it having an impressive first year before settling into a prolonged sales slump (think Fiat 500).
There are certainly alternative scenarios, but few involve Honda E supplanting the Civic. Being adorable will only take you so far. However, it seems Honda was originally willing to take a whack at it. The model’s product leader, Kohei Hitomi, said the little electric was always meant for America.
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.
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.
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