Honda has released more details, including power figures.
The choice for electric cars right now basically lies between pleasant to drive but expensive in the form of the BMW i3 and the Tesla models, or more affordable but boring in the form of the Chevy Bolt, Honda's Clarity, the Nissan Leaf. The Fiat 500e is getting into the ballpark but it's woeful 84-mile range confines it to pure city use. However, Honda's super-cute supermini is shaping up nicely as more details are released.
We already know that Honda is touting the Honda e as a lightweight EV with 50/50 weight distribution and rear wheel drive, and those are features that can make any car fun to drive. Honda has now also let us know how much power to expect from the combination of the 35.5kWh water-cooled lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor. Horsepower is claimed at just south of 148 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, which isn't impressive on its own but when you consider that is instant electric torque in a light car we then can expect the Honda e to be a zippy and playful little thing.
According to Honda, the battery has a lot to do with the weight saving and balance, saying: "The 35.5kWh battery in the Honda e is one of the most compact in its class, contributing to an exceptional balance of low weight, fast-charging capability of 80% in 30 minutes, and a range of over 200 km [124 miles], perfect for every day urban commuting."
Honda also mentions the Honda e will feature single pedal control with regenerative braking, promises that it "reduces the need to use multiple pedals, making the drive more engaging, exciting and seamless with maximum control for the driver."
So, while the Honda e is not a sports car, it promises to be a lot of fun jetting around the city and running errands. The brand explains that "Honda engineers paid special attention to enhancing the driving dynamics to deliver a fun and engaging experience. With the battery located low under the vehicle floor, the car's center of gravity is approximately 50 cm 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 meters, ensuring the Honda e is exceptionally maneuverable in small city streets."
While all of that sounds like a remarkably fun little package to scoot around in, it also helps explain why the Honda e won't be coming to America in this form. Small cars don't do well here, mainly due to a cultural preference for large vehicles and a lack of necessity for a small form factor. In Europe though, that small package will be ideal for narrow streets in congested towns and cities. Honda also tells us the production version of the Honda e will be revealed later this year, and hopefully, its release will set a new bar for making all-electric vehicles fun and exciting to drive.