Honda Expands Fit EV Launch to Include Japan
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 PluginCars.com. "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.
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