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Honda launches Fit EV electric vehicle

July 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
While gas prices have dropped recently, the volatility in price at the pump makes electric vehicles an enticing option. Honda is the latest automaker to offer an electric car. How does it compare to its competitors?

A few years ago, you couldn't buy a new electric car. But today they're popping up like crazy, from basic to exotic.

Now it's Honda's turn to enter the electric car arena, with the new Fit EV. It has the typical attributes of an electric vehicle.

"Your fueling costs are cheaper, your carbon footprint is reduced. You're reducing your dependence on foreign oil," said Robert Langford, Honda's manager of plug-in electric vehicle sales. "And overall, driving an electric car is just fun."

Yes, the Fit is definitely fun to drive, especially with its nimble size. It also bests its competitors with quicker recharge time: just three hours at 240 volts.

"The beauty of that is that in an hour, you can get a 30-percent charge," said Langford.

And it has something else that other EVs don't: It's a Honda. For many loyal Honda owners, that's important.

"And I think once they get some of their people in the car, the loyal Honda people are going to say 'Yeah, Honda's right up there,'" said Bill Moore, publisher and editor in chief of EV World.

The Fit's somewhat upright cabin makes it easy to climb in and out of, and passenger and luggage capacity are pretty good too.

There's also an app available to monitor the battery and even remotely switch on the air-conditioner via your smartphone.

Honda's Fit EV joins other plug-ins that are already on the market. But you wonder why wasn't Honda first? Well actually this isn't Honda's first EV. The company had one some years ago. In 1997, Honda launched the EV Plus. A relative handful were built and very few people were able to lease them, not buy them.

The new Fit EV is lease-only as well, just under $400 a month for three years. Honda says a lease is beneficial to consumers, as battery technology can change in a short time.

And while some of the electrics currently on the market aren't necessarily flying out of showrooms, observers of the electric car industry say they are part of our automotive future.

"We can pump and pump and pump all we want, but there's only going to be 'X' amount of oil that can be made available," said Moore. "We've got to look at other options."

Honda's just looking down the road, a road that may some day be full of electric cars.


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