One year ago, at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, Honda unveiled the Fit EV concept, an electric version of its popular Fit economy vehicle. This year, Honda revealed the production version as a 2013 model. The Fit EV will be available for a $399-per-month lease to West Coast customers in the summer of 2012, with the program extending to the East Coast in 2013. Honda lists a retail price for the Fit EV of $36,625, before any government incentives.
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The body style is the same as the gasoline-powered Fit, with badging denoting its electric power train. Honda sourced the 20 kWh lithium ion battery pack from Toshiba, and packaged it underneath the floor.
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Although the Fit EV can still carry five people, the battery pack impinges on the interior space, eliminating the Magic Seat functionality of the gasoline-powered Fit. The rear seats fold down for an extended cargo space, but the deep cargo well afforded by the Magic Seat system is not available.
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Honda gave the Fit EV a 32-amp onboard charger, which lets the battery recharge in under 3 hours from a 240-volt outlet. On a full charge, Honda claims 123-mile range, yet it anticipates an EPA rating of 76 miles for combined city and highway driving.
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Stowage space is available under the cargo floor, and Honda includes a charging cable with a standard J1772 plug. This cable can plug into 110- and 240-volt outlets.
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Honda packages the 92-kilowatt electric motor, driving the front wheels, and the power control electronics under the hood. Honda has not released specifications for acceleration or top speed.
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The cabin of the Fit EV is very similar to that of the standard Fit, with quality materials and good build quality. The car has two drive modes, Normal and Econ. Honda says the car can get up to 17 percent better range in Econ mode.
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Steering wheel buttons show that the car comes with a Bluetooth phone system. There is no analog speedometer on the instrument cluster. A digital readout for mph shows on the center display. The two analog gauges show state of charge and current power consumption.
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With its electric power train, the Fit EV does not use a conventional gearbox, instead having a single reduction gear to match the motor speed with the wheels. This shifter is simply a drive mode selector.
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Honda will include its navigation system with the car, along with telematics to support remote charging. Drivers will be able to use a Web site or phone app to remotely schedule charging times.
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