The Honda e is a very expensive city car with an official range of 137 miles. If that doesn’t fit your brief then you can stop reading now. However if that is your thing, you are in for an absolute treat.
It is a breath of fresh air, and not just because of its all electric drivetrain. Honda has taken a punt on buyers wanting a very funky little car with a big price tag. Pointing to the likes of Apple, they believe that people will pay for innovation and style and that there are a growing number of city dwellers looking for just that all wrapped up in a small package.
Despite measuring just under 3.9 metres in length Honda has managed shoehorn in a 35.5 kWh battery pack. That is enough for an official range of 137 miles, which is ample for a city car, whilst Rapid charge capability enables an 80% charge in around 30 mins which makes infrequent longer journeys doable too.
Power is fed to the rear wheels but thanks to the compact nature of electric motors you still get a very decent 171 litres of boot space. The mechanical layout provides a 50/50 weight distribution which in combination with the rear wheel drive set up makes the ‘e’ agile and free of the torque steer that can be the Achilles heel of front wheel drive EVs.
We have seen numerous cars over the years that have had watered down concept car exteriors combined with deeply underwhelming interiors. The Honda e is not one of those cars. The exterior does capture the essence of the arresting 2018 concept car, but it is the interior that looks like it has just escaped from the show stand. It is breathtakingly daring, and truly original. If anything justifies the lofty asking price it is the cabin.
Not only does the wall to wall array of high definition screens look great, they also work really well, are highly configurable and deliver a great sense of fun. Despite the clear emphasis on tech it is excellent to see that Honda has retained physical buttons for key functions, it is an approach that we very much endorse. The outer two screens are for a camera based mirror system which works brilliantly, which is a surprise given that such systems have tripped up other manufacturers. The seats also look great and are very comfortable, for once we believe the designers when they say that they were inspired by living rooms, we just wish that our living rooms were as nice as this!
It would be easy to think that the ‘e’ is all about style but it also has real substance. The driving experience is good, it is brilliantly suited to the urban environment with a smart rivaling turning circle of just 4.6 metres, but it also delivers a very comfortable ride thanks to fully independent suspension which is something normally reserved for much bigger cars.
And that is the secret of the Honda e. It could have been a humdrum city car with a lofty price tag, but instead Honda has gone the whole hog and delivered a very expensive city car that is engineered like a big car and packs one of the most interesting interiors of any car at any price. As a result it is a truly unique proposition and one that we think justifies that asking price.
Estimated real world range: 137 miles
Official range: 100 – 137 miles
Official electricity consumption: 172 Wh/km
Battery pack: 35.5 kWh (gross) lithium ion; 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty
Recharge time: 6.6 kW charge approx 4 hours 6 minutes; Rapid CCS 50 kW approx 31 mins (10% – 80%)
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.