2013 Honda Fit EV Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO
2013 Honda Fit EV Now for less
by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel
BEVs or, if you will, battery electric vehicles have been in the news of late. Not to announce some new technology advancement, or increased driving range, or a new model from one of the manufactures, but to announce price reductions. Why? Well, simply put, car makers are putting EVs on the market, especially in California where makers must offer zero-emission vehicles, but folks aren’t buying. EVs are too expensive for most folks. Or, as I would put it, the R-O-I…return on investment is poor.
In May I had the chance to get up close, get inside, and drive the 2013 Honda Fit EV. This drive opportunity occurred at the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) Spring Brake in Bear Mountain, New York, which is located just to the south of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The Honda Fit EV was initially available for lease-only in key markets in Oregon and California. In February, the Fit EV became available for lease at Honda stores in selected markets in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. My chance to drive a Fit EV in the New York metro area was a rare one and not to be missed.
Honda too has dropped the Fit EV’s price. The Fit EV's three-year lease price was $389 per month which computes to a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $36,625. In June Honda announced a new price package for the Fit EV including a new competitive lease price of $259 a month. Reduced from $389 a month, the new three-year lease term features no down payment, unlimited mileage, routine maintenance, collision coverage and 240 volt EV home charging station equipment (not including installation) from Leviton.
The lease price is after applying the $7,500 federal EV tax credit, which is taken right at the Honda store and, in my view, is why leasing an EV makes more sense than buying. (If you buy, the tax credit is taken when you file your tax return.)
The Fit EV is quite quick. The electric motor is rated at 123HP and with its instant torque provides plenty for fast starts and easy hill climbing, as I noted in the twisty, hilly roads around Bear Mountain. Based on the Honda Fit which is a great car in itself, the Fit EV is very roomy with seating for five and has lots of cargo carrying ability. The rear cargo area expands from 12cuft to over 49cuft with the rear seat folded. To make life easy, the Fit EV is offered in only one trim level, and only in a unique Reflection Blue Pearl exterior color with a gray interior. You can have any color you want as long as… Standard equipment includes electric-assisted power steering, automatic climate control, heated front seats, power windows, door locks and outside mirrors, cruise control, 15-inch alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and more. Electronics include a navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, voice controls, a rear view camera, and a 16-watt 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 playback.
Also, the Fit EV has a long list of standard safety features that buyers have come to expect in a new car today including Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control, a 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
When connected to a 120-volt AC power supply with the included portable charging cable, the Fit EV can be fully charged in less than 15 hours. With a 240-volt AC Level 2 supply connected to the Fit EV's standard onboard 6.6 kW charger, the charging time is less than three hours. For me, a brief mindset adjustment is needed when I get in an EV and see driving range at 82 miles to empty. In a gasoline-engine car I would be soon heading to fill the tank. EVs usually will be bought/leased by multiple-car households. Although, for a city-dweller who uses public transport for daily work commutes, an EV could be an only vehicle for those weekend shopping trips or whatever. As the EV charging infrastructure is installed around the U.S. during this decade, I hope we see charging stations both at home and at the work place which will then allow for greater acceptance and less driving range anxiety.
If you want to shop EVs you can do that right here on TheAutoChannel.com. For more detailed information and specs on the Honda Fit EV and the complete Honda model range visit www.automobiles.honda.com.
With the hopes for greater acceptance in the market and increased sales, the network of qualified Fit EV Honda stores in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut was to expand from 36 to more than 200 by the end of June.
© Larry Nutson