Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd has released its first-ever all-battery car, as it aims to compete with other automakers who are shifting all of their research and development in electric vehicles.
The Honda e, which was released in Europe earlier on this month, is a compact car that is meant to be used for city driving, contrasting with the large cars manufactured by Tesla Inc and Audi AG, with the two companies focusing on the sedan and SUV market with long driving ranges.
When compared with these car manufacturers, Honda have opted for a much smaller battery capacity, having just 280 kilometres per charge, whilst other high batter electric vehicles have much larger batteries, with some of them being able to drive for 570 kilometres on just a single charge.
Tomofuni Ichinose, chief engineer of the Honda e, told reporters that “Most EVs use large capacity batteries, but often, much of that capacity goes unused during city driving”.
He added that Honda believes that “smaller is a better option for cities”.
The Honda e features a retro, ultra-compact design that is reminiscent of the classic N360 and N600 models back from the 1960s, and together with its two-door design, it is intended as an upmarket city car.
The Honda e’s price tag is around €33,000, which is higher than Renault’s Zoe ZE50, which is one of the most common electric cars out there, being praised for its long driving range and roomy feeling despite being quite a small car.
Ichinose claimed that Honda engineers had focused on accurate and sharp handling in order to allow for easy turns, especially in narrow streets.
The car’s side mirrors have also been replace with interior displays to avoid bumps and scrapes whilst one is parking or has already parked.
The model will only be sold in Europe and Japan, entering the market in late October, with Honda expecting annual sales of just 10,000 in Europe and 1,000 in Japan.
In Japan, it is also planning to introduce the model into its car-sharing fleet.
The Japanese automaker stated that is has no plans to market and sell the car in North America or China, with SUVs dominating both of those markets, making their marketing campaigns futile.