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Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:08 pm
by Boomer23
Watch this space Friday for lots of news about the Fit EV. Keijidosha and I drove the living daylights out of them today in Pasadena. Press embargo ends Friday.

Quick non-embargoed summary, I love it.

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:26 pm
by TomT
I drove one too - can't say when or where at the moment... I was not quite as impressed as you apparently were...
Boomer23 wrote:Watch this space Friday for lots of news about the Fit EV. Keijidosha and I drove the living daylights out of them today in Pasadena. Press embargo ends Friday.

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:39 pm
by surfingslovak

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:53 pm
by Boomer23
Here are my bullet points for the Fit EV

Quick Summary:

• Very good handling and good steering feel, not BMW or Mini good, but crisp, tight and sure footed (Fit EV is front wheel drive)
• Normal mode is about as powerful and responsive as the LEAF
• Sport mode blows the LEAF away in acceleration and throttle responsiveness
• Brake regen is not much stronger than LEAF’s Eco mode, but regen in downhill driving is strong enough to stop the car (special downhill sensors for regen). "B" setting on transmission lever allows you to set higher brake regen in any of Sport, Normal or ECO modes, unlike LEAF that requires ECO mode for increased regen.
• Onboard charger is 6.6 kW, twice as fast as LEAF’s
• Batteries are 20 kWh Toshiba SCiB Lithium Titanate located under floor like LEAF’s
• Batteries are air cooled, flow-through by fans, with air exiting between rear wheels (EDIT: Note, cooling air is ambient, NOT cooled by chilled air from the A/C system)
• Lacks any provision for fast DC charging
• Charge port is on front driver side fender, only one LED that flashes showing charging and is not as easy to see as LEAF’s dash-mounted lights
• EPA range is 82 miles vs LEAF’s 73 miles
• MPGe is 118 vs LEAF’s 99 and Ford Focus EV’s 105, Miev’s 112
• Max horsepower is 123 vs LEAF’s 107, FFE’s 143
• Torque is 189 lb-ft vs LEAF’s 207, FFE’s 184
• Slightly smaller inside than LEAF, but still a five seater, much bigger than Miev. Fit EV curb weight is 133 lb less than LEAF.
• Has independent rear suspension instead of torque beam like LEAF, Fit ICE
• Lacks a battery temp gauge, only has an idiot light
• Lacks numeric energy use screen, makes do with unmarked gauges
EDIT: Lacks a battery capacity gauge that LEAF has. Loss of charging capacity would be unknown to the driver except for reduced range.
• SOC gauge has about 100 divisions compared with LEAF’s 12 bars
• Rear brakes are only drums vs LEAF’s all wheel disks, I didn't notice any downside
• Handheld fob can start/stop charging, climate control, displays SOC percent, cabin temp
• Mobile and PC apps do all that LEAF’s can do, plus charge scheduling, mapping, trip planning and send to car, display charge stations and local shops and conveniences, cabin temp
• Rear camera lacks LEAF’s steering-linked guidelines
• Appears to lack satellite radio but FM traffic is free
• Has heated front seats (two-level) but lacks heated steering wheel, though wheel is wrapped.
• Has an “OK” screen at start up, like all Honda Nav screens
• Lease is $389/mo, plus tax, no consumer capital payment required, first payment due on lease, 36 month, 12,000 mile per year lease with no purchase option.
EDIT: Honda may be providing free collision insurance with this lease. Honda's literature was unclear. I have a question in to Honda to confirm this. If true, it makes the lease much more of a bargain.
SECOND EDIT: Honda confirmed that collision insurance is included. Look for details on the lease, downthread. Maintenance is also included, but tires are a wear item, customer responsibility.
• Federal tax credit is built in to lease (Honda takes it), CA $2500 rebate should be applicable, as well as car pool stickers, but don’t quote me on that
• Honda will produce 1,100 cars total for the 2013 and 2014 model years, with leasing beginning mid-July 2012 beginning in SELECTED Calif regions and Portland OR, adding several north east coast cities next year.
• Leasing begins on Honda web site with pre-qualification.
• Honda is using Leviton for home EVSE

Click on picture below to see larger.

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:54 pm
by Boomer23
My Fit EV driving impressions:

This car is FUN to drive in Sport mode. Steering is tight and responsive with very good feel. Not BMW feel, but darn good feel. You do sit higher in the car than in a normal sport sedan because you’re sitting above the battery pack, but in Sport mode, the car is so responsive that you forget that you’re sitting up a bit higher. On a handling course, in Normal mode, the car feels pretty similar to the LEAF, but without as much body roll and more planted on its tires. Throttle response in this mode coming out of turns is a bit quicker than the LEAF, which has a bit of lag at speeds around 15 or 20 mph. But in Sport mode, the Fit EV really storms on a short handling course. The extra 23% of power really makes itself felt and throttle response at moderate speeds is immediate, feeling like you are “on the cam” in an ICE car. Sport mode makes 123 hp versus Fit EV’s Normal 100 hp and LEAF’s 107 hp. On the parking lot tracks, I felt like I could feel the precision of the independent rear suspension, and it added to the good handling as compared with the LEAF’s torsion beam rear axle. This also applies to the handling on Pasadena’s Colorado Bridge, which is a nice bit of twisty flat road.

On city streets in Sport mode, I really found myself grinning as the car zipped up to speed and took a tight set on the curves. It really feels sporty. For comparison with a couple of other sporty EVs, I’ll compare it with the BMW ActiveE and the MiniE. I’ve driven those two cars exactly once each, but they left lasting impressions.

The ActiveE is a true sports sedan that has steering feel and handling that only BMW seems to be able to get exactly right. The BMW also has brake regen that is strong enough that you can drive the car with only one foot, able to bring the car to a full stop without touching the brake pedal. The BMW also lacks “creep” at a stop. The Fit EV is certainly no BMW as far as handling feel and quick turn-in are concerned. Acceleration in the Fit EV in Sport mode feels equal to or better than the ActiveE, maybe around 8 seconds for 0 to 60 mph. We’ll see about that when magazines do instrumented tests. Regenerative braking, even in “B” mode, is nowhere near as strong as in the BMW. In “B” mode, the Fit EV’s brake regen feels slightly stronger than the LEAF’s braking in Eco mode. However, when going down hill and braking, the Fit EV actually increases brake regen and it appeared that one could actually bring the car to a stop without touching the brakes.

The most memorable thing about driving the MiniE was the crazy strong acceleration in the mid speed range. You could drive along at 30 to 35 mph and then punch it and the MiniE would absolutely scream forward without falling off for a l-o-n-g time. Talk about an EV grin! The Fit EV, unfortunately, doesn’t give you nearly that rush of acceleration (or adrenalin), but in Sport mode, it is hands down the best accelerating EV that I’ve driven besides the MiniE. (Note: I have purposely avoided driving a Tesla Roadster, knowing that no EV that I would actually consider owning would ever compare with the rush.). The MiniE featured some pretty strong torque steer, and happily, the Honda doesn’t suffer from that ill. Handling and ride in most Minis is of the go-kart variety. Take that in both the best and worst sense of the words. The Fit EV doesn’t quite handle as tightly as a go-kart, but the ride is much more compliant than the Mini’s, and that spells relaxed cruising that was less possible in the Mini.

Overall, I found the Fit EV really fun to drive. I finished my afternoon with the feeling that if I had had the Honda and the LEAF to choose from last spring, I would likely have chosen the Honda. It feels more like the kind of cars I’ve chosen in the past, not full-on sports cars, but really capable handling cars with enough torque and zip to get some fun out of the suspension. The Fit EV is smaller inside than the LEAF and narrower, and I have doubts that we could fit a baby seat plus two normal sized adults in the back seat comfortably. So the Fit EV would have been slightly less useful for quick family trips out to dinner or the beach. The extra 10% of EPA driving range compared with the LEAF would be appreciated, and 118 MPGe, the highest energy efficiency of any comparable car, is not to be sneezed at. Remember, though, that that level of efficiency wasn’t achieved in Sport mode, which Honda tells us provides about ten percent less range than Normal mode. The Fit EV’s instruments are less quantitative than the LEAF’s, giving only approximate readings of SOC, charge and discharge, and the energy loads of ancillary systems. I’d miss the more quantitative readings, but not very much. And the lack of a battery temperature gauge, replaced by only an idiot light, is a really glaring omission. The Fit EV does display mi/kWh efficiency, and the 100 or so SOC “bars” are much less granular than the 12 bars that the LEAF displays. The hand held fob does actually show SOC percent numerically, so I’d have to say that the Fit EV wins on that count, as long as those displays turn out to be accurate. EDIT: Also note that the Fit EV lacks any gauge showing battery charge CAPACITY. The LEAF shows that as the 12 bar gauge to the far right side of the distance to empty ("GOM"). So a Fit EV driver would not know if charging capacity were reduced, except by noticing diminished driving range or reduced kWh consumption at the charge point.

To me, the Fit EV felt like a complete and ready for prime-time EV, not a compliance car or a stopgap, and certainly not a dodgy prelude to a production car, like many of the early adopters are finding who are driving the BMW ActiveE.

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:55 pm
by Boomer23
Interior and Exterior Impressions:

Exterior: Looks beefier and more aggressive than ICE Fit due to special wheels, tires, deeper front chin fascia with channels to divert air around front tires. Body color is distinctive and looks good on the car. Large chrome bar in place of standard Fit grille is distinctive and identifies Fit EV. Taller than LEAF by about an inch.

Interior: Smaller by an inch or so in most dimensions than LEAF. Front seating area feels less airy and open than LEAF’s, but very comfortable. Shifter is similar to a standard automatic transmission lever, but with a “B” position for increased regen. Colors are very similar to LEAF’s. Seat material is sugar cane Bio-PET fibers, more rugged looking, nubbier and grippier than LEAF material. Seats are manual-adjust, no seat height adjustment. Dash shapes are more complex than LEAF’s, very typical of Honda small cars. There are two glove compartments, an upper and a lower one. Folding armrest attached to driver seat side (driver seat only, as I recall). Cupholders everywhere, in door pockets, side ends of dash, center console. No center console armrest/storage compartment. Rear seating leg room is larger than LEAF’s by four inches, but seat is narrower by five inches, so three-across seating or two adults plus a child seat might be tighter. Rear luggage area behind seats is shallower front-rear than LEAF’s. Cargo capacity is about 83% of LEAF’s with seat back in place, but perhaps larger than LEAF’s with seatbacks down (FIT EV does not have charger in the luggage area.). Under the rear cargo floor is a foam organizer that neatly stores the Level 1 Panasonic trickle charge EVSE. Front seat heaters are standard (two-level), but steering wheel is not heated, though it is wrapped in leather or vinyl.

Instruments: In general, Fit EV instruments lack a lot of the numerical information that LEAF’s instruments have. For instance, there is no energy use display like we have on our Nav screen, just lights on two scales, one for climate control power use and one for all other systems, like lighting. There is NO battery temperature display. Just an idiot light that comes on when the batteries are too hot. The instruments are a mix of analog and digital. Digital for speedometer, distance to empty and multi-function display. Analog but lacking any numerical percentage units, for real-time power consumption/charging (and regen) and battery SOC. For the SOC display, there is an analog needle and about 100 dots on a curved scale, but no numbers for a quantitative readout. Strangely, though, the remote fob and the smartphone app show numerical SOC percentages. For real time power use and charging (regen) there is an analog needle that swings through another 100 blip scale, also unmarked as to kW. Distance to Empty (GOM but hopefully more accurate) is numeric and changes when you switch between Normal, ECO and Sport modes. Dashboard lighting changes from white in Normal mode, to Green in ECO mode to red in Sport mode. EDIT: Fit EV lacks any gauge showing charging CAPACITY.

Multifunction display shows trip odos, outdoor temperature, average mi/kWh, a bar chart for mi/kWh for the past three trips, and an eco coaching display with a vertical line that moves left and right with acceleration and braking. For most economical driving, keep the vertical bar in the middle of the display rather than in the grey areas to the right or left of the display.

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:57 pm
by Boomer23
Other details if you’re still reading:

Built at Honda’s Tochigi R&D Center, where the Clarity FCEV is built. While most of the body comes from the Fit ICE, the body was modified so that the battery box could be placed beneath the floor and rear seat, very similar to the LEAF. The rear suspension was also modified and upgraded from the standard torsion beam to a multi-link independent design.

Body has 14% lower drag than standard US Fit ICE due to flat underbody, smaller front air intake and rear roof spoiler.

Brake system incorporates electric servo system, integrated with brake regeneration, allows a 5% higher energy recovery rate than conventional regenerative brakes.

Battery pack: 20 kWh air cooled Toshiba SCiB Lithium Titanate Oxide mounted under floor and rear seats in similar way to LEAF. Cooling air is drawn in from rear of car, blown over top of and then below battery pack, with heated air exhausted through twin outlets between rear wheels. Honda expects superior life expectancy through superior battery chemistry and active cooling as compared with the competition. ... e_5383.pdf" onclick=";return false;

6.6 kW onboard charger, NO fast DC charging, 92 kW (123 hp), 256 Nm (189 lb-ft) IPM (internal permanent magnet) AC synchronous motor based on the one from the Clarity, MPGe is 118 combined, 82 mile EPA range. Three selectable modes, ECO, Normal, SPORT (!), plus B (brake) mode., 15 inch EV specific wheels, EV specific multi-link rear suspension replaces standard Fit torsion beam, front disk/rear DRUM brakes.

One trim level only, heated seats, (not steering wheel), voice-activated Nav with FM Traffic (free of charge) and ability to contact roadside assistance, interactive remote (100 ft range) can start, stop charging, activate climate control and displays SOC % (!), cabin temperature, rear view monitor (lacks steering controlled lines that LEAF has), tilt/telescope steering wheel, Bluetooth music streaming and phone connection, 6 speaker audio with speed sensitive volume control, MP3/WMA capable and USB audio, iPhone/iPod compatible (fifth gen models and newer only), keyless entry, ignition key rather than START push button.

EVSE partner is Leviton. We were told that a standard install is about $1500, including the $699 EVSE and includes a 50 ft wiring run.

SPORT mode: allows full 92 kW of power, appx 10 percent reduction in cruising range compared with NORMAL. (range display is adjusted)
NORMAL mode: 75 kW available
ECO mode: 47 kW available (increased to 75 kW under full throttle) reduced C/C load, accelerator pedal has glide feature, cruise control uses less motor power when possible,
B transmission selector: increases regen. Regen is automatically increased in downhill driving.

Any color you want, as long as it’s Reflective Blue Pearl. Interior is grey/beige, similar to LEAF, seat fabric is more “woven” looking, grippier, sugar cane plant sourced rather than oil sourced or recycled PET.

Tires Michelin Green X Energy Saver 185/65 15

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:04 am
by mwalsh
Nice write-up, Phil. You've done us proud!

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:06 am
by Boomer23
Weights and dimensions:

Code: Select all

Dimension/Spec	                    Honda Fit EV	            Nissan LEAF
Length (in.)	                            162	            175
Width (in.)	                            67.7	            69.7
Height (in.)	                             62.2	             61
Passenger volume (cu ft)                   89.3	            98
Cargo vol (cu ft) min/max	           12.0 / 49.4	        14.5 / 38.5 (?)
Head rm (in) front/rear	                40.3 / 37.3	         41.2 / 37.3
Leg rm (in) front/rear	                  41.3 / 35.2    	    42.1 / 31.1
Shoulder rm (in) front/rear	         52.7 / 51.1	         54.4 / 52.5
Hip rm (in) front/rear	                 51.5 / 45.0	         51.5 / 50
Curb weight (lb)	                            3,252	            3,385
Wheelbase (in)	                              98.4	             106.3
Track (in.) front/rear	                  58.5 / 57.6	    60.6 / 60.4

Re: Offcial Honda Fit EV thread-availble summer 2012, lease

Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:07 am
by Boomer23
Reserved for Photos