£800 refundable reservation fee nets customers first spot in the queue ahead, of BMW i3 rival's deliveries, in spring 2020

Honda has opened up ordering for its new electric city car, the Honda e, ahead of first deliveries beginning next spring.

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 to get "priority status" on the order books. 

Those customers will be invited to place a full order later this year. The car's pricing is still yet to be announced, but as with most reservations, the fee is refundable if buyers change their mind. 

The model was first revealed as the Urban EV concept at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. A near-production version was then shown at this year's Geneva motor show and dubbed the Honda e prototype. The car maker has confirmed that name will stay for the production version.

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

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The prototype shown at Geneva motor show is “95% production ready”, according to the firm. It maintains the styling of the Urban EV Concept, albeit with the addition of an extra set of doors. While Honda has yet to reveal full technical details of the car, its designers told Autocar at the Geneva show that it would offer "more than" 98bhp and 221lb ft of torque.

Honda said there have been more than 6,500 people who have expressed interest in the Honda e in the UK. Pricing has yet to be set, 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 a Jazz and around 100mm taller than a Mini. Honda has said it will likely have an official range of around 125 miles, with fast-charging capacity to reach 80% charge in 30 minutes. 

The e prototype 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. 

Although the e prototype’s range is substantially lower than that offered by rival EVs such as the 282-mile Kia e-Niro or BMW i3, which offers 193 miles, Hitomi said it 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.” 

The e prototype features cameras instead of rear-view mirrors, which help improve aerodynamic efficiency. There are also flush door handles and the charging port is mounted centrally in the bonnet. 

The cockpit 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 prototype 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. 

The firm has yet to set pricing. 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.”

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Comments
34

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

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.

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.

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

Five years ago 125 miles would have sounded reasonable but not now, and especially not if 'Apple inspired' means the price too. Trouble for them is that Peugeot claims 211 miles for the new 208 electric that isn't much bigger, probably, and looks almost as cool. You need a bit of 'headroom' in range too to allow for losses over the life of the car, and to allow for the fact that realistically you can never drive more than about 80% of your maximum range. Disappointing.

27 February 2019
...leaking their plant closures to the press before their workers found out.

Sorry. This Honda owner will never buy another Honda no matter how cute....

I am actually embarresed to be seen driving a Honda after this fiasco.

Steam cars are due a revival.

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