The Honda-e, released in Europe earlier this month, as a compact model meant solely for city driving. Tesla Inc’s model 3 sedans dominate the battery EV market that contrasts with the Honda-e.
As Audi AG and Hyundai Motor Co that have focused on SUVs with long driving ranges. EV’s have been kept at the premium end of market because of high battery cost and many automakers are developing bigger, all purpose models, some of which can drive as far as 570 kms on single charge.
However, Honda-e has a battery capacity roughly half that of the model 3, driving just 280 kms per charge. Tomofumi Ichinose, chief engineer of the Honda-e told reporters “Most EVs use large capacity batteries, but often, much of that capacity goes unused during city driving”.
“We question whether larger vehicles are appropriate for urban areas, and believe that smaller is a better option for cities”, further said.
Honda’s classic N360 and N600 models from the 1960s, have a retro, ultra-compact design whereas the two-door Honda e is intended as an upmarket city car, whose price tag of around 33,000 euros ($39,000) is higher than Renault’s Zoe ZE50, which is roomier and has a longer driving range.
Ichinose said Honda engineers have prioritised accurate and sharp handling to enable easy U-turns in narrow streets. To avoid bumps and scrapes during parking side mirrors have been replaced with interior displays.
The model will only be sold in Europe and Japan, where it goes on sale in late October. Honda expects annual sales of only around 10,000 in Europe, and 1,000 at home.
Automakers said they have no plans to market the car in North America or China, one’s with biggest markets for SUV dominance.