Reservation list open for retro-styled Honda e
Honda hasn’t yet let anyone see the production version of its upcoming EV, the “e” branded city car that it has developed for the European market, but the automaker has started taking reservations for priority ordering. Honda is also promising that the e is going to be fun to drive. It will even have a Sport mode.
“Fun to drive” usually means something that’s at least quick and also handles well, and Honda seems to have those bases covered. The e will be driven by an electric motor on the rear axle with approximately 150 horsepower on tap, and at least 220 lb-ft of torque available from 0 rpm, which should get the little hatchback off of the line with some alacrity, though no weight figures have yet been released. Weight is a concern with electric vehicles, but Honda says the e’s 35.5kWh battery pack is among the most compact in its class, specifically mentioning its “low weight.” The e will have a range of over 120 miles, making it suitable for most urban use.
However much the battery weighs, that mass is located below the car’s floor, putting the Honda e’s center of gravity just two inches from the ground. It used to be said that big American sedans had “road-hugging weight,” but in the case of the e’s battery pack, that weight, or rather its location, genuinely helps with road handling and stability.
Putting the motor on the rear axle should not only give the e the sort of handling only available with a rear-wheel drive vehicle, but compared to a front-mounted powerplant, it will free up space and permit greater articulation in the steering gear, resulting in a miniscule 14.1-foot turning radius. The motor and battery placement allow for a perfect 50:50 front-to-back weight distribution, which should also help with vehicle rotation.
The e’s unibody construction makes use of high-strength materials for greater structural rigidity and lower weight.
All of those factors that improve maneuverability and decrease body roll mean that Honda can use softer springs on the McPherson struts at all four corners without compromising the car’s agility. The company says that it has benchmarked the e’s ride quality against larger-segment cars.
The Honda e will also offer a feature called Single Pedal Control, which lets the driver control both acceleration and slowing of the car with only the accelerator pedal. Essentially, Single Pedal Control provides automatic regenerative braking when you release what we used to call the gas pedal, but the same pedal will bring the car to a full stop, presumably with the help of the car’s advanced driver assist systems. For Luddites such as yours truly, the Honda e will also have a conventional brake pedal.
We’ll get to see the production Honda e sometime later this year. If you’re interested in making a reservation, visit Honda’s UK website at https://reserve.honda.co.uk/en/reservation.