Honda plans to set itself apart from its rivals by making its first electric car “fun to drive” according to its president Takanobu Ito.
Honda is displaying an advanced version of its Jazz-based EV Concept at the Frankfurt motor show, ahead of it going on sale in Japan and the US next year.
“Our long history with electromotive technologies has enabled us to understand customer requirements,” said Ito. “In Honda’s view an electric vehicle must offer great utility and be fun to drive.”
The production car will have a top speed of 90mph, a 100-mile range and a three-mode driving system, derived from the Honda CR-Z sports hybrid’s system. This means the driver will be able to select between economy, normal and sports modes to maximise efficiency or acceleration. Sport mode is said by Honda to give the car the equivalent performance of a Jazz fitted with a two-litre petrol engine.
Honda has also confirmed the five-seat EV will be powered by lithium ion batteries and a coaxial electric motor when it goes on sale. A full charge from a 240-volt outlet will take six hours, says Honda.
Although the car is heavily based on a modified Jazz, officials have declined to say whether the production electric car will retain the same styling. “It hints strongly at the direction and styling of the upcoming battery-electric vehicle,” said a spokesman.
Honda Plug-in HybridHonda has also confirmed it will begin trialling a two-motor plug-in hybrid system in America next year.
Integrated into a mid-size saloon platform, the system combines and electric motor and petrol engine and can run in three programmes: fully electric, petrol-electric or full petrol.
In full electric mode the vehicle uses a 6kWh lithium-ion battery and 120kW motor to propel the car. It has a range of up to 15 miles, an electric top speed of 62mph and can be recharged in 1.5 hours.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is paired to a CVT transmission and can run with electric assistance. An on-board generator keeps the battery topped up.
In addition, the engine can take over at high cruising speeds, when it is most efficient to do so, driving the front wheels directly.