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Honda: e News

 
Old 07-04-2019, 09:43 AM
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Honda: e News

We’ve been waiting a long time for this. When the Honda Urban EV concept debuted at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it was met with critical acclaim from media enamored by its adorable looks and promise of small, characterful all-electric driving. Production confirmation quickly followed the debut, and while the mass-made version was never likely to be as artisan as the concept, the final car that debuted at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show still made us happy.

And now, we’re back in Frankfurt to drive it. Okay, so it’s actually a prototype, shipped from Japan after some convincing fromHondaEurope. The vehicle’s project leader, Kohei Hitomi, tagged along to witness a ham-fisted batch of journalists set out in 20-minute sessions on a tight artificial course.. But while it’s officially called a “Prototype,” there’s not much here that isn’t production-ready. The remaining bits, Honda says, are mainly cosmetic (dash plastics, infotainment and so on).


Honestly, it still looks like a concept car. Honda’s simple, “quiet” design successfully hides the bits that clutter normal cars. Concealed windshield wipers are one thing, but designers cleverly disguised all the driver-assist systems behind the black nose panel. The door handles are retractable and there are no door mirrors. By using a rear-view camera system instead, Honda adds to the E’s futuristic appearance and charm.

This is a small car, barely 12 feet 7 inches long. The design intentionally references the 1970s Honda Civic. But those headlights, more like puppy-dog eyes are charmingly endearing. No wonder our hearts melted.

Time to toughen up and concentrate on the serious assessment. But not before being wooed by the characterful cabin(Editor’s Note: Honda didn’t provide images of the cabin, citing the unfinished components.), complete with retro 1970s-style wood-effect trim, an oversized two-spoke steering wheel, modern upholstery, and brown seatbelts. You sit high, on firmly supportive, premium-feeling seats, and enjoy fantastic visibility. With no door mirrors, it feels like you have a 180-degree view of the road ahead.



The cameras feed two monitors on either side of the central infotainment screens. There’s a familiar EV readout ahead of the driver, and more comprehensive touchscreens in the center. It all looks modern and impressive – here’s hoping it’s a quantum leap on Honda’s rather sub-par setups it installs in its cars today.
You sit high, on firmly supportive, premium-feeling seats, and enjoy fantastic visibility.
Those in the front step in through massive door openings – it’s genuinely a walk-in car. Rear-seat passengers pay the price, though, because access is much tighter. Once in the back, there’s enough space for adults on the soft bench, but it’s still a squeeze.. The trunk is tiny, too – a tacit admission of this shortcoming is the easy-use handle on the center of the rear bench seat. Flip it, and the seat folds flat for a much more cavernous luggage space.

The boot has a high floor because, yes, the motor is mounted beneath it. A 35.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack sits low within the bespoke EV platform, so it takes up as little space as possible. Hitmoi-san explains that this is how you optimize an electric car: rear-wheel drive for traction and batteries down low for a beneficial center of gravity.

Once behind the wheel, we press the button for “drive” and nail the throttle, startling the Japanese engineer riding shotgun. It feels good – 62 miles per hour arrives in around eight seconds, per Honda. That’s not quite as, ahem, electric as a Tesla, but it’s plenty nippy. You can deploy more of the torque more of the time though, without having to worry about steering fight or traction control hysteresis.





It goes without saying that the Honda E Prototype is quiet, all electric cars are, and spookily so at low speeds. This one is particularly peaceful though, with little motor whine (sticking it out back helps here) and very good isolation from outside noises, even during the few seconds I managed to reach 50 mph. I drove it during a European heatwave and the temperature gauge was reading high 90s, yet even the climate control was hushed.

Another highlight is the EV’s ride quality. It’s always hard to fully judge this on test tracks, but subtly going off course (to just a hint of a quizzical look from the engineer) didn’t generate any drama. The overall absorbency seemed very plush and cushioned, with a relaxing roll-along feel that matches the Honda E Prototype’s friendly appearance.

The E did lean a bit in corners (you can see that from the images), but the low center of gravity means it never feels top-heavy. The E is sure-footed and stable throughout, even after umpteen laps of the course, by which time we’d found a rhythm and invariably started to focus on driving as quickly as possible.

But perhaps the most eye-opening experience when driving the Honda E Prototype comes at 2 mph. The fully-optimized EV platform allowed the engineering team to give it an incredible turning circle of just 14 feet 1 inch. In other words, barely longer than the length of the little Honda itself.

Experiencing this for the first time is incredible. We can wind on more and more lockending up quite dizzy after so many super-tight turns.

“We wanted to make the world’s best urban EV,” said Hitomi-san later. “We knew we had to make the turning radius as small as possible.”





And then, to our patient chaperone’s relief, time was up. We rolled back to base, surprised at just what a pleasant and satisfying car the Honda E Prototype seems to be. Honda makes no bones about it: prices will be premium, with rumors pointing to much as 40,000 euros ($45,000). But if ever a small EV felt worth it – felt like the “iPhone of electric cars” Honda is targeting– it’s this.

There’s just one more barrier to overcome: range. In a world where 300 miles is becoming the norm for electric cars, the Honda E looks like it will offer just 124 milesHitomi-san insists Honda has made the right call with that distance, though. This is a city car with clear benefits and advantages as a result.

Give the batteries more range and you make the car and the price bigger, or the car lower quality. Longer-range Hondas will follow, as will larger ones and less feature-packed ones. For now, this is how Honda is staking its place in the world of EVs.



As we jump out, Hitomi-san looks on from indoors. He clocks our beaming grin; he’s smiling too. He may well have created the feel-good car of the moment. Let the debate rage about price and range, because we’re just looking forward to getting back into a Honda E.

Hurry back to Japan, Hitomi-san, and get them rolling off the production lines. Because you might just have a little hit on your hands.




2020 Honda E Prototype

ENGINEAsynchronous Electric Motor
OUTPUT148 Horsepower / 221 Pound-Feet
DRIVE TYPERear-Wheel Drive
BATTERY35.5 kWh
SPEED 0-62 MPH8.0 seconds (est)
MAXIMUM SPEEDT.B.D.
EV RANGE124 Miles (est)
BASE PRICE$45,000 (est)

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Old 07-04-2019, 09:47 AM
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Honda, once the epitome of spunky and unconventional automotive innovation, has flailed about for years trying to get the green formula right. The original Insight was a lovely but exceedingly specialized vehicle, but subsequent misfires let other companies seize the initiative. Toyota locked down the conventional hybrid space, Tesla made EVs luxurious objects of desire. In America, we look at the bizarre Clarity EV’s range and purse our lips with disapproval, wondering if the company simply doesn’t have the vision it needs to take leadership in the green space.

And then, we saw the Honda E Prototype. It’s a pat and overused phrase, but everything did change.

The little EV hatchback debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show … and what we saw there is pretty much exactly what Honda is going to sell, concept car touches and all. Saying it looks fresh doesn’t do the E justice. It manages to fuse an innate desirability with the easy, approachable, charismatic charm of the iconic Hondas of the past. And while it has that retro appeal, it isn’t a retro design. It’s more that it reinterprets the things that made classic Hondas so friendly and warm, without blatantly copying them.

In that vein, the dashboard is a lovely, flat, minimalistic sweep of horizontal woodgrain with an underslung black plastic component housing the vents and center console, which is an homage to the low, flat dashboards of classic Hondas. But rising vertically out of it is a monolithic band of screens, housing the side-camera displays, infotainment, and gauges. There’s an echo of third-generation Prelude, but it’s more bleeding edge than retro-futurism.

We’re visual creatures, so the fact that the Honda E made this sort of first impression is incredibly important. The Honda E tells you a short story about what it is the second you lay eyes on it. The sales pitch is instantaneous: it’s an EV that you are welcome to desire.


Think about it, and that makes the Honda E stand out quite a bit. EVs are typically purchases that require a lot of rationalization, not an instant emotional investment. You’ll look at a spreadsheet rather than a pair of friendly, starkly round headlights. How long does the E take to charge? I’m not sure, I’m still taking it the cheeky black panel between the taillights, the camera nubs that replace conventional side mirrors, the similarly futuristic interior. Sure, anyone would look at the numbers eventually – our contemporary EV reality demands it, since there are stark limitations – but the E uniquely invites you to enjoy its friendly shape, its inviting styling.

Its closest analog in the EV world might be the Fiat 500e, an undoubtedly charming shape but one that it shared with the more successful internal-combustion 500. So it wasn’t novel, it wasn’t unique, and it was also a straight retro design play. The difference is what makes the E so fresh, and so appealing to folks like us, interested in EVs but generally uninspired by contemporary offerings.

And yes, I am an enthusiast (and also an EV owner – you can read more about that here). Most of us are, in this industry. Things that aren’t sold here – and the Honda E, it seems, won’t be – carry a seductive appeal. What’s forbidden is enticing. But I’d argue that what makes the Honda E truly enticing is its natural appeal, not its scarcity.

Around the office, most Autoblog editors would like to see the E sold in America, although that might not be likely. “We need more stylish EVs,” says West Coast Editor James Riswick. “Most EVs are dork-mobiles.”



Even the practical limitations seem a low bar for the E to cross. Honda is not interested in a longer-range or larger E, which would undoubtedly increase its appeal to Americans, because the company believes “a range of more than 200 km with charging up to 80 percent in 30 minutes is practical for daily usage — not always carrying a huge and heavy battery around for maybe that one time at the end of the week where you have to drive a long distance.” In other words, the E is sized precisely for how its likely customers will actually use it. As Riswick puts it, “we live in cities where people are already driving 115-mile Leafs around.”

Indeed, Associate Editor Zac Palmer thinks the range issue is more about perception than anything else. “When all we could manage was around 100 miles in a BMW i3, that seemed sorta pitiful and useless,” he says. “But then looking at it in this light, that 100-125 miles of range doesn’t feel all that bad anymore.”

Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski adds, “Hauling around more than 200 miles worth of batteries will be silly once there’s a proper infrastructure with fast-charging capability.”

There are some notable dissenters. Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale thinks the E Prototype is “stylish and charming, and [likely] better to drive than basically every other short range EV available,” but worries that it wouldn’t suit Honda in America to reset its green vehicle leadership. He thinks a more traditional halo car might do the trick. The Sports EV concept, perhaps, or a reborn and electrified S2000. He did allow that the E would make a good partner for a production Sports EV, a sort of one-two punch from Honda targeting enthusiasts and urban commuters with a single electrified sub-brand.


While longing for the Honda E in America might be futile – Honda’s project manager for EVs, Kohei Hitomi, told CarBuzzthat it could be homologated for sale in North America but that the company has “other plans” – thinking about why the E made such a deep impression on us is useful. Mainstream American consumers aren’t buying EVs in significant volumes yet, but the E helps us think about how the segment might break down those barriers. Practical considerations like size, range and charging infrastructure certainly matter a lot. But the E shows us the intangibles that could help this segment make inroads in the meantime.

That said, Honda is going to follow demand. While the critical response has been good, actual consumer demand percolating up could change Honda’s tune on the E itself. We’re not suggesting you write a letter to Honda’s corporate offices, but then again, could it hurt?

https://www.autoblog.com/2019/07/03/...erica-opinion/
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:50 AM
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If you want an electric car, there are the Teslas, which are nice but too expensive, much like the BMW i3. There is the Honda Clarity, which is insanely boring, like the Chevy Bolt and Volt and Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq. Then there is the Fiat 500e, which is getting closer to what you want. Because what you want is the new Honda e.

The Honda e has a good name. And the design looks good. It is also a small car, which is the only correct choice. It comes in five delightful colors. And today, Honda revealed some claimed power numbers, saying that the e will deliver up to 148 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque.


Those numbers aren’t impressive on their own—the Bolt, to give some comparison, makes a claimed 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque—but remember this is a small car, and intended to be light. Those power numbers should be enough, and since, like all EVs, the e will deliver that torque instantly, you can expect the e to be zippy.

The e’s range is “over 200 km,” per Honda, or about 125 miles, which also isn’t terribly impressive, but this car is for urban commuters, not road trips. In any case, Honda says that e can charge 80 percent of its battery in 30 minutes.
With the battery located low under the vehicle floor, the car’s centre of gravity is approximately 50cm from the ground. With a 50:50 weight distribution, wide yet compact size and short overhangs at the front and rear, the Honda e delivers an optimal balance of stability and handling performance to the compact electric car segment.

To help deliver a sporty character, power is delivered through the rear wheels, which also enables a greater steering articulation for the front wheels. As a result, the turning radius is approximately 4.3 metres, ensuring the Honda e is exceptionally manoeuvrable in small city streets.
Will this car ever come to America? Probably not. It’s intended for Europe and too refined and sensible and good looking to stand much of a chance here. Take Honda’s opinion on the range wars, for example.
“If we look at the market at the moment,” says [Kohei Hitomi, Honda’s project lead for the e Prototype], “there is a trend where manufacturers are competing with each other with driving range. Consequently, batteries are getting bigger and heavier.

“From Honda’s perspective, this is counterproductive, because that makes cars bigger and impractical for city usage. We believe a range of more than 200km with charging up to 80 per cent in 30 minutes is practical for daily usage – not always carrying a huge and heavy battery around for maybe that one time at the end of the week where you have to drive long distance.”
Big? Impractical? Heavy? Buying much more car than you actually need? There’s nothing more American that that, which is why, in reality, we don’t even deserve the e. I can still dream, though. And don’t sleep on the side cameras.

https://jalopnik.com/the-honda-e-is-...for-1836042958
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:24 AM
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https://www.carscoops.com/2019/07/ho...-by-f1-driver/

Formula 1 driver Alex Albon drove the Honda E Prototype at Goodwood last weekend. Toro Rosso’s pilot didn’t show much mercy to the small electric hatchback during the hill climb, despite traveling with a couple of Honda execs.

Its subcompact proportions will place it in the same class with the Renault Zoe. However, unlike its French rival, which is based on a front-wheel drive architecture, the E Prototype has a rear-wheel drive setup. The electric motor produces 150 PS (148 hp / 110 kW) and 300+ Nm (221+ lb-ft) of torque, so it can be called a warm hatch.

Performance is still unknown, but the company confirmed that it has a driving range in excess of 200 km (124 miles). The battery features a fast charge function that allows it to be filled to 80 percent in just 30 minutes, which is enough for the daily commute.

As the name suggests, the Honda E is a prototype, albeit one that’s 99 percent evocative of the final production model. It was previewed by the Urban EV Concept a couple of years ago, and it’s two months away from debuting in production guise, at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, in September. From there, the car will hit assembly lines before the end of the year and will launch in Europe next spring. Until then, let’s see it tackle the Goodwood course with a professional racing driver holding the wheel on video below.



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Old 07-13-2019, 07:49 AM
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Might take some time to get used to the rear view mirror set up, if it stays that way.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:22 AM
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I know a few cars/trucks have adopted the camera rear-view, but have not seen any camera side mirrors, not sure if they're US-DOT legal yet.
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