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2013 Honda Fit EV (pictures)

CNET got its first chance to drive the new electric car from Honda, based on its compact Fit model.

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Wayne Cunningham
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In an effort to meet increasingly stringent average fuel economy standards and comply with California's Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, Honda developed an electric car based on its Fit compact.
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Based on the 2013 Fit model, Honda made some cosmetic and aero changes to the body. The chrome smile is unique to the Fit EV, along with a smaller front air intake.
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Honda retains standard headlamps for the Fit EV, but tints the lenses blue, a common theme with electric cars.
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Replacing the internal combustion engine under the hood is a power control module, AC-to-DC charger, and 92-kilowatt drive motor.
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Honda significantly modified the chassis of the Fit to accomodate a flat battery pack, capable of storing 20 kilowatt-hours of electricity, underneath the passenger compartment. That modification raised the car 1.5 inches, but results in good weight distribution.
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The standard J1772 charge port sits on the left front fender of the Fit EV. An LED located near the port indicates when charging is active.
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Because of the changed configuration of the chassis, Honda had to do away with the Magic Seats found in the standard Fit. In the Fit EV, the rear seats still fold down, but do not create a flat cargo floor.
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Another change to the Fit platform was the replacement of the rear torsion bar suspension with a multilink suspension. Honda made this change to accommodate the battery pack, but it results in a better-handling car.
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Similar to most electric cars, Honda uses manually adjustable seats in the Fit EV. Seats and interior surfaces are covered with a sustainable material left over from sugarcane refining.
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Honda boasts that, because of the changed chassis configuration, the rear seats in the Fit have as much legroom as in the Accord.
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The Fit EV will only come in one trim, with navigation standard.
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The instrument cluster is composed of a power-use gauge on the left, digital speed and range in the middle, and a big, analog gauge showing the battery level on the right. The center display also shows driving efficiency.
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Although the Fit EV uses a single-speed gearbox, Honda retains the large shifter. Along with Drive, the Fit EV also has a B mode, which engages more-aggressive brake regeneration.
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Buttons to the left of the steering wheel put the Fit EV in Econ, Normal, and Sport modes. Econ adds a green accent to the instrument cluster while Sport turns it red.
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The standard navigation system retains the chunky maps used in other Honda vehicles.
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In addition to Honda's standard infotainment features, the navigation system includes some EV specific screens. This one shows the range of the Fit EV superimposed on the map, making trip planning easier.
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The points of interest database includes a list of EV charging stations, and can be filtered between 120-volt and 240-volt stations.

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