The Fit EV is an all-electric version of Honda's subcompact five-door Fit model. Representing Honda's first effort at a North American-market EV, the electric-powered Fit boasts an EPA-rated combined driving range of 82 miles, giving it one of the most extensive ranges of any EV.
The Fit EV ditches the gas-fed 1.5-liter four-cylinder of the normal Fit for a 92 kilowatt coaxial electric motor derived from the powerplant used in the automaker's FCX Clarity fuel cell EV. Energy comes from a 20 kWh air-cooled lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the floor of the car.
Three drive modes, Econ, Normal and Sport, tailor the Fit EV's powertrain to fit a driver's intended style. Honda is most proud of Econ, which the automaker says can add as much as 17 miles to the car's range when engaged. To charge the Fit EV, Honda says a 240-volt setup can replenish the battery in just three hours.
In addition to the aforementioned class-leading range, the Fit EV also possesses the highest mpg equivalent rating that the EPA has awarded to any EV so far: 118 mpg-e.
Looking the part
Fit EV generally mirrors its standard sibling, although its hip point is raised slightly to accommodate the battery. One color, Reflection Blue Pearl, will be available. Front and rear fascias are revised to aid aerodynamics, as are unique alloy wheels. Inside, bio-fabric is friendlier to the environment than standard cloth.
To help drivers keep tabs on the propulsion system, the Fit EV features illuminated meters for the battery's state of charge and driving range. An upgraded on-board telematics system teams up with a standard navigation system to let drivers alter charging even if they aren't in the same location as the vehicle thanks to a mobile application and a website. Drivers can even set the Fit EV's heater to turn on to pre-warm the car.
It Is Easy Being Green
Contrary to what Kermit might say, selecting an electric-powered Fit over its conventional counterpart requires relatively few sacrifices. Though the battery pack's placement under the car results in a three-inch higher floor, thanks to the Fit's extremely tall roof it's hard to discern the lost space. The extra weight of the batteries also does relatively little to dilute the Fit's nimble, fun-to-drive handling dynamics.
One casualty of the electrification process is the "Magic Seat" system, which allows the rear seat bottom to flip forward in the normal Fit. The rear seatbacks can still fold flat, however, so the Fit EV retains a decent amount of cargo versatility to compliment its ability to seat five occupants in comfort.
Leasing for the Fit EV will begin this summer in selected California and Oregon markets and then six east coast markets in early 2013.
The Fit EV faces competition from full-electric vehicles like the established Nissan Leaf and the up-and-coming Ford Focus Electric, while the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt is also likely to get cross-shopped by those looking for the practicality of a longer range.