LOS ANGELES--Honda says it will begin leasing the electric version of its Fit small car at a price of $399 per month.
Honda joins the ranks of automakers offering electric cars with the new Fit EV, showing off a production version of the car at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. The standard Fit uses an economical 1.5-liter gasoline engine. Honda removed the gasoline power train, replacing it with lithium ion batteries and an electric motor.
The 20 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery is packaged under the floor, and impinges on interior space slightly, reducing cargo space. The battery gives the car a range of 123 miles, according to Honda, although the company expects the EPA-rated range to come in at 76 miles.
Honda includes a robust, 32 amp onboard charger, which can fill the battery in under 3 hours from a 240-volt outlet. Charging from a 110-volt outlet should take from 6 to 8 hours.
Honda will include a navigation system, along with a telematics system that will let drivers remotely set charging schedules for the car from a Web site or smartphone app.
Honda expects to list the price at $36,625, before government tax credits or other incentives. But it will initially only be available for lease. The lease program begins with select markets in California and Oregon, then will expand to the East Coast in 2013.
Google, Stanford University, and the City of Torrance, Calif., will all participate in a fleet demonstration program, which Honda will use to gather real-world usage data with the Fit EV. Some of the cars will enter Google's GFleet, an electric-car-sharing service the company runs for its employees.
See all CNET's coverage from the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.