2013 Honda Fit EV at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show

  • Competes with: Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi i
  • Looks like: A pucker-mouthed Honda Fit
  • Drivetrain: 92-kilowatt coaxial electric motor with 20-kWh lithium-ion battery
  • Hits dealerships: Summer 2012

Honda’s Fit EV is an all-electric version of Honda’s subcompact hatchback with an estimated combined city/highway range of up to 76 miles using the EPA’s testing. (According to the EPA, the Nissan Leaf would reach 73 miles.) In the city, Honda expects a maximum electric range of 123 miles.

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The combined number puts the Fit’s estimated range higher than other EVs’ ratings, besting the Nissan Leaf by three miles. What happens in the real world may be different, but the EPA’s official combined range ratings are close to what we’ve achieved with our long-term Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.

The Fit EV is powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92-kilowatt electric motor derived from the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, a fully functioning prototype we tested a few years ago. Its three driving modes can tailor the Fit’s performance to different styles: Econ, Normal and Sport, similar to the Honda CR-Z’s system. In that car, the modes noticeably change the CR-Z’s responsiveness.

Honda says a full charge using a 240-volt charger takes as little as three hours, which is also impressive because the Leaf takes seven hours using a 240-volt charger. Honda says charging takes less than 15 hours from a 110-volt houshold outlet.

There’s seating for five even with the added battery, though the rear seat bottom is now higher to accommodate the battery under the floor. An array of new meters and information displays monitor battery operation and usage. The outside has unique wheels, spoiler, front styling and comes in one color, Reflection Blue Pearl.

Like the Volt and the Leaf, the Fit EV uses a smartphone application to monitor charging, the remaining range, and it can also warm or cool the interior remotely before you get into the car. An interactive remote is also included that lets drivers start charging and pre-condition the interior from up to 100 feet away from the vehicle, without an internet connection.

The Fit EV launches in certain California and Oregon markets next summer. At its launch, leasing is the only way to get one, for an estimated $399 per month. Sales will expand to six East Coast markets in early 2013, though over the next three years Honda expects to produce only around 1,100 of them.

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