Honda had warned us, it would introduce an electric concept at the Los Angeles auto show. I was only half enthusiastic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of electric cars, but I’m getting tired of seeing concepts. I should feel lucky, because I’ve had the opportunity to test drive a few of them, but what I’m expecting now is production models. Concepts had their time. So I was much relieved to find out that the Honda’s concept is an electric version of a regular production model: the Fit (called Jazz in Europe).
There’s no doubt a brand new model, built on platform dedicated to electric propulsion would have been better, but it would have required a much longer development time. Whereas the Fit is already in production, and ready for an electric powertrain since we’ve already seen an hybrid version of the Fit. We shall understand that things like the power steering or the air conditioning system don’t need a gasoline engine to function, and this will shorten even more development time. And its cost, too…
The electric Fit will come with a 3-mode electric drive system, which sounds good because most electrics only have a 2-mode system to give more range. The electric Fit will give the choice between more range, or more power. You’ll have to choose, exactly like on a CR-Z, with the manufacturer explaining that range will be 25% shorter on the Sport mode, compared to the Econ mode. On normal mode, it should be 100-mile. Acceleration? Honda says it will be equivalent to a car with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine on Sport mode. Sounds fine to me.
The electric Fit will be available in 2012, in the United States, but not in Europe. To compensate, Europeans will get the hybrid Fit. Would you prefer it the other way around?