It took Honda a long time to produce their first electric car, but I think it was worth the wait. The Japanese company produced a concept electric version in 2017, but the Honda-e is their first mass market EV.
The Honda-e may not win any prizes for its external looks as it has a boxy shape, but inside it’s a bright new world. Most electric cars wouldn’t win prizes for their external looks as there is no grille at the front, so to be fair Honda is in much the same situation as other car makers.
When I test drive electric cars most people I meet have two questions, what’s the range and the price. Well the range is approximately 220km and prices starts at €29,995 for the 136-brake horse power version, rising to €32,995 for the more powerful 154-brake version. Road tax is €120.
I drove the Honda-e for a few hours last October and like most people who had a quick drive, my abiding memory was the lack of external side mirrors. Instead you get two small television-type screens on each corner of the dash, which comes with a teak trim. Removing the side mirrors means that there is no wind drag on the car, thus saving electricity.
This time I had the car for a week and I never took my eyes off those small monitors which were located at either end of the dash, which came with a touch of teak all across. At times I felt like I was working in a production control room in some television station. It certainly makes for safer driving as you are always aware of what’s coming up behind you, on both sides.
When I visited Honda’s Irish headquarters in Browns Barn on the Naas Road to pick up my test car there was a gorgeous blue-coloured Honda-e in their showroom. Truth be told I was a little disappointed that my test car came in a silver grey colour, but I’m told that the silver grey is very popular with many different car manufacturers right now.
The grey colour didn’t put off the many admirers and ‘tyre-kickers’ that I met in various supermarket car parks. I find that people who have an interest in cars, certainly know what’s new in the market.
Naturally the car is quiet and I found that with some ‘cagey’ driving in urban areas I was able to ‘go that extra mile’ as the regenerative braking system does a good job adding on those extra kilometres.
The seats are comfortable without being luxurious and there is ample leg and head room. In the back there is room for two well-built adults or maybe three children. At first you might think it’s a two-door car as the handles for the rear doors are discreet. The boot is small and no spare wheel.
I asked Honda Marketing Executive Jennifer Moran “who is buying the Honda-3”. She said that it was mainly young people and customers who are loyal to the Honda brand.
It’s a very neat motor and has a brilliant turning circle. It would turn on the proverbial sixpence. Last year in my brief drive I didn’t need to charge the battery in the Honda-e. This time I did and I think it definitely was the quickest car battery that I have ever charged.
Naturally Honda are going to roll-out their EV technology across their range of cars. Their next fully electric car will be an SUV, but no further details available right now.
Honda’s marketing strap line is ‘The Power of Dreams’; now the Honda-e is certainly the ‘Power of Electric Dreams.’