Honda’s Electric Push Goes into Overdrive

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Honda recently unveiled its 2013 Accord in Chelsea Piers on Manhattan West Side. The Accord was in sedan and coupe designs and had the star of the show, the company’s first truly plug-in hybrid.

After a very dismal 2011 because of natural disasters in both Japan and Thailand, together with bland reviews of the Civic, Honda is on the rebound with 2012 sales of 732,165 vehicles up until July in the United States. Overall, August registered a 59.5 percent jump in sales in 2012 compared to 2011 numbers.

The 2013 Accord does not provide major style changes except for the plug-in hybrid model with its battery pack. The plug-in hybrid model would be available for 2013 to be assembled at the Savama, Japan factory of the company. The Accord is driven with by a two liter Atkinson Cycle four cylinder engine that is able to produce 137 horsepower that is partnered with a 124-kilowatt electric motor powered by a 6.7 kilowatt hour Blue Energy lithium ion battery pack. The total output of the Accord is pegged at 196 horsepower with a range expected to reach 500 miles.

The Accord can run up to fifteen miles on pure electricity and then the gas motor would come in at high speeds. The vehicle has three driving modes, with the battery pack connected to a 6.6 kW onboard charger that can fully recharge the battery from a 240 volt outlet in just an hour.

Another model in the Honda fleet that is environmentally friendly is the battery powered Fit EV. This all electric compact hatchback is available at U.S. $389 per month for three years and surprisingly, without a purchase option. The Fit EV has a coaxial electric motor able to produce 92 kilowatts that takes its power from a twenty kilowatt hour Toshiba battery. The Fit EV can be fully charged in under three hours with a240 kwh outlet.

According to EPA range estimates, the Fit EV can travel 82 miles in city and highway driving combined. This in turn pegs the mpg at 118 but this is dependent on one’s driving habits. There are three driving modes, namely Sport, Normal and Econ and provides a full range of options for the Fit EV driver.

No surprise that Honda is recovering in no time at all.

Honda Offers All-Electric Fit EV to Market

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Honda has begun delivery of its all-electric Fit EV to its first clients, namely Google, Stanford University and Torrance Ca City Government. These are the first Fit EVs available to the public, which is well in advance of public sale for the units.

These first units would be part of a demonstration program aimed to provide feedback and research in the use of the Fit EV that can be used by the Japanese automaker for future developments in electric cars.

Torrance California was chosen as part of the demonstration program as it is the base of operations for Honda USA. The electric vehicles would be passed around city departments, such as parks and recreation, water and others to determine whether a city with an all-electric city fleet would be feasible. Another aspect of the program would be educating the general public and increase awareness about electric vehicles together with an evaluation as to the possibility of having a complete infrastructure for electric car charging within the city.

For Google, the Fit EV would form part of the G-fleet, the company’s car-sharing program that uses alternative fuel vehicles. The data and information gathered regarding multiple drivers on the Fit EV as to their feedback on the vehicle would then be forwarded to the carmaker.

Stanford on the other hand would use the car for behavioral research. The Center for Automotive Research in Stanford would outfit the Fit EVs with electrodes to measure human reactions as to the adoption of new technology with the car’s noises and alerts, such as low power warnings for the Fit EV while there would still be standard Fit cars to be part of the research.

The availability of the vehicle would expand to the East Cost by the spring of 2013. There are no sales but only leases available, with a term of three years costing nearly $400 per month. The lessees would need to go through a vetting process whether the applicant’s lifestyle would be fit for an electric vehicle. Factors under consideration would be the distance traveled commuting and if a charger would be installed at the owner’s home.

The Fit EV uses the design of the internal combustion engine Fit hatchback. The car debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November 2011. The car is powered with a 92 kilowatt electric motor using a 20 kilowatt per hour lithium ion battery. The car’s driving range, combined city and highway driving, is 76 miles on a single full charge.