Near production-ready model makes UK debut ahead of first deliveries in 2020

The new Honda E electric city car has made its UK debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

A running prototype has taken to the event's hillclimb course, with another on display on the Honda stand, flanked by the latest version of Honda's NSX sports car. Honda says the E appearing at Goodwood is "95% true" to the production version. 

The new machine, which is available to order before deliveries commence in 2020, boasts a 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity, thanks to the placement of its batteries low within its wheelbase. Power is sent through the rear wheels, and the car rides on four-wheel independent suspension.

Goodwood Festival of Speed news and updates

The E uses a liquid-cooled 35.5kWh battery that Honda claims should deliver more than 125 miles of range. Rapid-charging should allow for an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes, although Honda has yet to reveal the exact maximum charging capacity of the car.

While the estimated range is substantially lower than that offered by rival EVs such as the 282-mile Kia e-Niro and 193-mile BMW i3, Honda e project manager Kohei Hitomi explained that this was necessary to keep the batteries small to fulfil its city car role. 

“We believe the range is sufficient for this segment of car,” said Hitomi. “Some potential customers might not be satisfied, but when you think about bigger range and a bigger battery, it has drawbacks in terms of packaging. It’s a balance.” 

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First drive: Honda E 2019 prototype

The E is the production version of the Urban EV concept, which was revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, and Honda has confirmed that many of that car's features will reach the final model as standard. These will include the camera wing mirror system, which Honda claims reduces aerodynamic drag by around 90%. That is said to improve the efficicency of the entire vehicle by 3.8%, playing a significant role in maximising range. 

The camera system will feature two modes: a normal mode and a wide mode with an extended field of view, and Honda claims they reduce blindspots by at least 10% compared to mirrors. A special water-repellent coating will be used to stop water obscuring the driver's vision.

Honda recently began taking orders for the E, ahead of first deliveries beginning in spring 2020.

Mirroring the process of rivals such as Tesla and Peugeot with the e-208, potential customers are invited to cough up a reservation fee of £800 for "priority status" in the order books. Those customers will be invited to place a full order later this year. The e's pricing is still yet to be announced, but as with most reservations, the fee is refundable if buyers change their mind. 

A near-production version of the E was shown at this year's Geneva motor show, dubbed the E Prototype. Honda has confirmed the 'E' name will stay for the production version and revealed a selection of available paint options for customers at launch.

The firm believes the car’s retro design will give it an Apple-style appeal to customers. 

Honda has said there are more than 6500 people in the UK who have expressed interest in the E so far. Pricing has yet to be set, but Autocar understands a ballpark figure is £35,000. 

Project manager Kohei Hitomi said the machine had been the subject of an internal “battle” over whether to put it into production, with the positive reaction to the concept being a key factor in it gaining approval. 

The car is slightly shorter than the Jazz and around 100mm taller than the Mini hatchback. It is built on a new platform designed for A and B-segment electric cars, with underfloor batteries produced by Panasonic that are similar to those used in the US-market Accord plug-in hybrid. The rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels, which employ torque vectoring to give a smoother response and improved handling in tight corners. 

As well as featuring cameras instead of rear-view mirrors, there are also flush door handles to further boost aerodynamic efficiency, while the charging port is mounted centrally in the bonnet. 

The cockpit of the E is dominated by two 12in touchscreens, built into a dashboard finished with a wood-effect trim. The seats – including a two-seat bench in the rear – are covered in polyester, which, as with the wood effect, is designed to make the interior feel like a living room. 

The E will be built in Japan and go on sale in selected European markets in late 2019, with others following in 2020. It will also be sold in Japan. 

Hitomi said it is “important” the car is affordable but he added: “A low price is not always a guarantee of success. When you look at Apple products, they are not cheap, but everyone wants to have them because of their added value. We believe it is the same for the electric vehicle.”

Read more

First drive: Honda E 2019 prototype

 

Goodwood Festival of Speed news and updates

 

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Comments
62

27 February 2019

So less than a hundred in the real world.  This would be fine if it comes in at under £21k, if not, it's gonna look horrendous value for money compared Renault Zoe and just end up a limited edition fashion item.  Having said that even if it comes in at SMART EQ money sales will be poor in the UK and maybe Honda's only intention was a limited production BEV.

Remember I've always been an BEV fan so it pains me to write this.  

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

27 February 2019

Still looks great. We'll be the judge of that price increase thing, Honda.

Needs to be affordable to succed

JMax

13 June 2019

Love the look of this thing, its really the ideal of an electric car, this is what an electric car should be like.

Be good to see Honda make a comeback, they are probably my favorite Jap make, but they've lost their way quite a bit on their SUVs, their styling drastically needs updated (this is where Mazda are cruising ahead), although the Civic is brilliant.

JMax

14 June 2019
JMax18 wrote:

Love the look of this thing, its really the ideal of an electric car, this is what an electric car should be like.

Be good to see Honda make a comeback, they are probably my favorite Jap make, but they've lost their way quite a bit on their SUVs, their styling drastically needs updated (this is where Mazda are cruising ahead), although the Civic is brilliant.

It's growing on me, too.  It was such a disappointment after the sporty compact looks of the concept.  But, as a car in its own right, it is cute, fun and stylish in the same vein as a Fiat 500.  The interior is great, as well - looks like a really nice place to spend time.

For people who live < 15 km from the city and don't want a bigger car, this could be a good option.  

8 May 2019
Our generation had definitive experiences...

27 February 2019

... is horrible. I love the way the car looks, but that would be a huge deal breaker for me. That would make it only slightly better than a two year old, much smaller, Smart ForTwo.

 

Honda has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to EVs.

 

 

27 February 2019

 

Going to start with the details; why the need for door cameras: cost increase!Why the need for front flush door handles if you slap corner handles for the rear doors, why not same design all round: cost increase!Why the need for two tone paints: cost increase!

Front plug receptacle, on top of the bonnet, great for a CHAdeMO plug, not so great reallyfor a CCS or Type 2 22kW plugs, if ever compatible for usage on this car: short sighted!

We then should expect an internal DC charger of about 50kW to allow a 30 min chargefor the expected 30kWh battery?

Overall, clean exterior design (very far from the usual 'very busy theme' employed at Honda) and interesting interior, spoilt by several 'plugs under flaps' and other examples of not so clean designs, like the steering wheel with an extremely small and bulbous airbag case that doesn't follow the general design note. No great communication around the project team, that is.

How much money could had been better spent elsewhere to give a better product, It will be a feat getting all that at below current Smart EQ  price points, but this spec might find hard to compete against other 5 door cars, new 208, new Zoe, new Corsa, just to name a few.

28 May 2019
coolboy wrote:

 

Going to start with the details; why the need for door cameras: cost increase!Why the need for front flush door handles if you slap corner handles for the rear doors, why not same design all round: cost increase!Why the need for two tone paints: cost increase!

Front plug receptacle, on top of the bonnet, great for a CHAdeMO plug, not so great reallyfor a CCS or Type 2 22kW plugs, if ever compatible for usage on this car: short sighted!

We then should expect an internal DC charger of about 50kW to allow a 30 min chargefor the expected 30kWh battery?

Overall, clean exterior design (very far from the usual 'very busy theme' employed at Honda) and interesting interior, spoilt by several 'plugs under flaps' and other examples of not so clean designs, like the steering wheel with an extremely small and bulbous airbag case that doesn't follow the general design note. No great communication around the project team, that is.

How much money could had been better spent elsewhere to give a better product, It will be a feat getting all that at below current Smart EQ  price points, but this spec might find hard to compete against other 5 door cars, new 208, new Zoe, new Corsa, just to name a few.

 

Given your wholesale negativity, perhaps you should not have tried to hedge your bets, by adding "maybe?"...?

MrJ

27 February 2019

I loved the Golf-like Honda electric, but this new one has lost the taut lines and oomph.

But at least it's lost the over-busy styling of other Hondas.

As for the range, OK as a shopping trolley I guess, but not much good otherwise.

27 February 2019
MrJ wrote:

I loved the Golf-like Honda electric, but this new one has lost the taut lines and oomph.

Its not a patch on the concept which reminded me of the original Civic. But moving that B-pillar forward was always going to make it look worse, just as it does with a 5-door MINI. I'm disappointed.

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