Following up on the announcement it made at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, Honda has officially launched its Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program. The kickoff drive was confined to Torrance, California, Mayor Frank Scotto and American Honda Motor Co., Inc. President and CEO, Tetsuo Iwamura, who spent time behind the wheel of a Fit EV prototype and an Accord Sedan outfitted with Honda's new two-motor plug-in hybrid system. However, starting next year, the effort will expand to include the City of Torrance as well as Stanford University and Google, each of which will receive a Fit EV, with Torrance also getting a plug-in hybrid to evaluate.
Iwamura said the program will play a significant role in helping Honda "better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with such a fundamental shift in technology." He sees input from the City of Torrance and the other participants as being a critical source of "real-world feedback" on how Honda can overcome various issues that potential EV customers may have regarding the changeover process.
The Fit EV prototypes will use will use an electric drive motor adapted from the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle that's energized by a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack. The Fit EV will have a nominal range of 100 miles per charge on the EPA's LA4 city cycle (70 miles when applying the EPA's adjustment factor) a top speed of 90 mph and can be recharged in less than 12 hours on a normal 110V outlet or under six on a dedicated 240V charger. It will be fitted with the three-mode electric drive setup from the CR-Z hybrid that will allow the driver to switch between Econ, Normal and Sport modes to optimize either acceleration or economy.
While Honda has yet to reveal full details on its new plug-in gas/electric hybrid platform which is designed for mid-to-large size vehicles and will go into production in 2012, we do know a few pertinent specifics. Aimed at permitting short all-electric commutes but offering long-distance range when needed, it will match the gasoline engine with a 120kW (163-hp) electric motor powered by a 6kWh Li-ion battery pack that will permit 10-15 miles of pure electric range at speeds of up to 62 mph. Honda says the battery can be recharged in three to four hours on a 110V line of one to one and a half hours on a dedicated 240V setup.