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Honda E electric car was slated for US market, but lack of demand killed the dream

The US isn't exactly nuts for EVs, so Honda pulled the plug on selling it in America.

Production Honda E
C'mon Honda, we need more fun electric cars.

This is, by far, the most disappointing auto news all week. In my opinion, at least. Honda's lovely E electric hatchback that stole the hearts of so many when it debuted was, supposedly, always designed and engineered with Europe and other markets in mind. But comments from the car's project manager reveal the US was supposed to be included.

Kohei Hitomi, who oversaw the Honda E's development, told Jalopnik at the Tokyo Motor Show this week that the electric car was meant for sale in the US when work began on the vehicle. Along the way, however, the automaker feared low demand would result in disaster. Executives pulled the plug on the cutesy electric hatchback three years ago, according to Hitomi's timeline.

We Yanks never knew this, so we simply chalked the E up as another piece of forbidden fruit. Now, knowing America was on the docket makes me want this little electric car even more.

According to Hitomi's comments, the project manager is seriously passionate about the E and told the website he really wanted the car sold in the US. However, he bought into the argument that Americans likely wouldn't be receptive to such a small electric car. It was when the American press gave such glowing remarks about the EV that he found himself surprised. He ended the discussion noting there may be a shot Honda reverses its decision and bring the tiny E to these shores.

That could simply be Hitomi's personal opinion, but maybe he already knows something more that we don't. If the electric car was part of the development program in the past, it likely wouldn't be too difficult to restart things. No, the E doesn't win any range wars with an estimated 136 miles on European test cycles, but this little electric hatchback packs wonderful looks and tantilizing on-paper specs.

Honda managed a 50:50 weight distribution and it'll come with a whopping 236 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can choose two power outputs: one spinning the electric motors to make 134 horsepower and another with 152 hp.

Honda has previously said its hybrid models are the key to prepping the US market for future EVs. But perhaps if we demand loudly enough, we could see the E after all. It worked for the Audi RS6 Avant, didn't it? We reached out to Honda to ask if it wants to talk more about the E's US potential, but the automaker declined to comment.

Originally published Oct. 24, 8:40 a.m. PT.

Update, 12:47 p.m.: Adds response from Honda.

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