Honda’s Compact EV Comes With Electronic Mirrors

The “Honda e Prototype” compact electric vehicle (EV)

Honda will release the mass-produced model of the EV in Europe in 2019 and in Japan in 2020.
This will be the first time that the company has launched its EV in Europe.

The most distinguishing feature of the EV is that Honda limited its drive range to 200km (approx 124 miles, WLTC mode) on purpose, said Kohei Hitomi, a senior researcher of the company’s Automobile R&D Center. Expecting that the EV will be used in urban areas, the company reduced battery capacity to a minimum to reduce size, weight and price.

“We expect that it will be charged every day at home like a smartphone,” Hitomi said.

The company did not disclose the capacity of the battery.

“For commuting and shopping in an urban area, the distance traveled per day is about 50km,” Hitomi said. “So, it can be used for about three days (even if it cannot be charged).”

In the case of a power outage, the EV can run for a few days until power comes back. Also, electricity charged in the EV can be used at the time of disaster.

A competing company’s EV is equipped with a large-capacity battery and has a drive range of more than 400km.

“It increases price and vehicle weight, causing significant disadvantages,” Hitomi said.

Honda employed a cute exterior design in contrast to the strong-looking design of the competing company’s EV in the aim of improving the affinity with humans, he said.

With a platform dedicated to EVs, the rear wheels of the EV are driven by using one motor. The cost of the EV was reduced by using some of the EV technologies of the “Clarity.” Though the price of the EV has not been disclosed, it will be higher than the Fit, Hitomi said.

The vehicle that Honda showed this time was a prototype, but the mass-produced model will have almost the same specifications, he said. The EV will be released in Europe and Japan, where charging infrastructures have been established.

Honda will start to accept pre-orders for the EV in the summer of 2019 in Europe and start production/shipment in the latter half of 2019. The company aims to release the EV in Japan in 2020. It will be manufactured in Yorii Plant (Saitama Prefecture, Japan).

Honda released the “Clarity Electric” EV in the US market but will not sell the compact EV in the US.

This is the first time that Honda has employed an electronic side mirror. While the competing company offers an electronic side mirror as an option, the side mirror of the EV is a standard feature.

Also, a horizontally-long large LCD panel was employed for an in-vehicle information device (infotainment), which seems to be used with various downloadable applications including a car navigation application. It has not yet supported OTA (over the air), which wirelessly updates vehicle control software.

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