Honda Expands Fit EV Launch to Include Japan

By · September 05, 2012

Honda Fit EV

Honda sees a very limited role for electric cars in the automotive future in the United States. Speaking at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, Honda President Takanobu Ito questioned the ability for pure EVs to have enough range, power, and quick enough charging times, at a cost that American consumers will pay. But other markets, Ito said, are a different story.

"For Japan, Europe, and other parts of Asia—especially the urban areas, we think the smaller category would be an option that could be considered, if it could be easily charged and has good maneuverability," he said, in an interview with "In this category, pure EVs would be appropriate."

Taking up the same message, Honda last week started leasing the Honda Fit EV in Japan. Though limited to only local government and business, Honda says the release of the Fit EV shows that Honda is "comprehensively pursuing the potential of electric vehicles."

In the US, the Honda Fit EV is only available as a lease, and in very low numbers—approximately 1,100 units, or only about 366 cars a year, over a three-year period. Honda announced its first delivery of the Fit EV in July 2012.

According to Honda marketing, the Fit EV was "developed as an electric vehicle that is fun to drive, yet can be used smartly." The development team strived to create an vehicle that followed these two key words: "Fun" and "Mottainai" (no waste). Among today's EVs, the Fit arguably makes the most use of driving modes to allow drivers to decide if they want a sporty ride, or to conserve range.

Honda says it will lease just 200 units of the Fit EV in Japan over the course of the next two years. In other words, the company is only dipping its toes into EV waters. But if the vehicle proves to be a success, then it's logical to assume that Honda will expand its Japan-based Fit EV program beyond local businesses and governments, to the general public.


· Bret (not verified) · 5 years ago

The Fit is a perfect little hatch to electrifiy and the MPGe is quite impressive. I believe Honda and others will get more enthusiastic after the cost and storage density of batteries improves to the point where EVs go mainstream. In the mean time, the slow Leaf sales has to be spooky to the other manufacturers.

· Brett Owen (not verified) · 5 years ago

Maybe it's not just a compliance car after all. That would be kinda cool. :)

· Zippy, UK (not verified) · 5 years ago

Looks more cool and less odd than the Leaf.

· · 5 years ago

I desperately want one, but there are two significant hurdles:

1. Lease only.
2. After 1.5 weeks, they still will not return my calls or answer my web inquiry. Really?

· · 5 years ago

darelldd: Do post a review if you get one.

Yeah that car will hopefully replace my Civic one day. I like the fact that they say it's sporty. I miss the sporty feel of the older smaller Civics in Honda's newer larger '06+ Civics. Sporty + EV + cheap would be awesome.

· · 5 years ago

Well, it is been more than two weeks now, and no call. I've decided to keep the Rav4EV running another few years and THEN see what the offerings are!

· Toan (not verified) · 5 years ago

I got mine and it is so fun to drive. Love it. The car on turns feels light and nimble. Dont feel the batteries. Sport mode is a blast.

· · 5 years ago

Is it me or is that just a ugly car.

· · 5 years ago

It isn't an ugly car to me, but then I own a Prius. :)

I agree that I don't like the Japanization of it. I like how it looks here in the US.

· · 5 years ago

Maybe someday this car will be more than an compliance car.

The Japanese version has chademo fast charging.

Rapid charger: Approximately 20 min

If sold (not leased) at the same price of 2013 Nissan Leaf, it would be serious competition for Nissan.

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