Honda already has experience playing in the electric motor arena. As far back as 1997, the Japanese brand had the concept car Honda J-VX, its first hybrid sports car using Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist.
Two years later in 1999, Japan saw the production model of the car named the Insight hit the streets. Significantly, the Insight was the first hybrid available in North America, beating the Toyota Prius by seven months.
- Honda to debut its first all-electric Honda e in Europe later this year.
- The all-new platform offers rear-wheel drive, a low center of gravity and aerodynamic side cameras to replace conventional side mirrors.
- With 124+ miles range and easy charging, the e is a great choice for city jaunts but not practical for longer trips.
Earlier this year Honda teased its first all-electric car, the Honda e. Toyota still doesn’t have a full electric because it believes hybrids are more eco-friendly, but that’s another story. The e tease revealed incredibly cool side cameras instead of mirrors, and the not-so-cool faux-wood paneled dashboard. Faux wood, really? No matter how good it looks, everyone knows it’s faux. Even the word sounds awful.
Side Cameras Reduce Blind Spots Up to 50%
However, the side cameras – standard on all e models – more than make up for the faux wood. No more flicking your eyes outside to glance in the side mirror to see if you’ve got a next door visitor. Instead, the camera will feed a picture onto a six-inch screen at each end of the dashboard to let you know if it’s safe to change lanes
The side cameras could very well have originated from the mind of Q and come from one of James Bond’s tricked out cars. More than just windows to the outside world, the side cameras are aerodynamic darlings. They don’t extend beyond the wheel arches like traditional side mirrors, reducing drag in the area by 90 percent, if Honda’s calculations are correct. That could increase the efficiency of the car by 3.8 percent, which is pretty significant. In addition, the camera’s design will reduce wind noise when you’re zipping along at higher speeds.
Set to “normal view”, the side cameras cut down blind spots by 10 percent, or in “wide view” to 50 percent–quite impressive. Also, the rear camera gets an adjusted angle to give even more visibility.
As long as we’re on visibility as a theme, Honda did testing in all types of lighting conditions, calibrating the interior screens to change brightness levels to optimize for different driving environments.
Optimized Performance And Ease of Use
Built from the ground up, the e positions the battery low under the floor and centered within the wheelbase for a 50:50 weight distribution and low center of gravity, improving stability. The electric motor pushes power to the rear wheels, which like the front, also uses independent suspension.
As people already struggle with ditching their combustion engine for an electric because of the fear of running out of juice, Honda made the charging piece as simple as possible. The e’s charging port is integrated into the hood, while LED lighting, visible through a glass panel, illuminates the port for the driver and highlights the battery charging status.
In addition, the charging port allows easy access from the front of the car or from either side. Displays on the dual touchscreens inside the car present the current level of battery charge, while a drivetrain graphic charts the current power flow and the regeneration and recharging status.
Powered by a 35.5 kWh Lithium-ion high-capacity battery, it can be plugged in using either Type 2 AC connection or a CCS2 DC rapid charger. With the fast-charge capability, the e juices up to 80% in 30 minutes. While the 124 mile range isn’t going to be ideal for longer road trips, it’s more than adequate for jaunting around the city.
The e is set to hit the European market later this year. And, excitement is high for Honda’s first all-electric platform. Honda claims it’s already received 31,000 expressions of interest. Those serious about getting into the e can make a reservation for priority ordering online in UK, Germany, France and Norway or register their interest in other European markets on the Honda national websites.