The Honda e is the Japanese company’s all-electric car, which has already received plenty of positive feedback from motoring journalists worldwide. Jeremy Webb was offered the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one and was eager to discover whether this highly-touted vehicle was deserving of all the plaudits and accolades.
I am a child who grew up watching Joe 90, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet; TV shows that were purportedly an insight into the future. In these series, the vehicles were self-driving, had digital displays, and appeared powered by sources other than fossil fuel. I would watch in amazement, dreaming of these types of technology, never doubting it would become a reality.
Climbing into the Honda e and powering on the car, I felt like my ten-year-old self once more. The whole front dashboard is an electronic display split into two screens plus the Driver’s display which has a mass of information that is easy to read. All the displays come on when you enter the car, and the vehicle is ready to go.
Put your foot on the brake pedal, engage Drive and touch the accelerator and you’re off. It takes a while to get used to because there is no sound, and your brain makes you think there should be to allow you to move. The power is immediate, and like I have said before about electric cars, it becomes addictive to press the pedal firmly to shoot forward.
The Honda e is light, and the electric motor is powerful, 154 PS, they combine to produce sports car performance. 315 Nm of torque means super pulling power, and the Honda e has rapid acceleration. By selecting the ‘Sport Mode’, further boosts performance through faster acceleration.
The range is reasonable (137 miles) for an urban-focused car. It’s a car that is ideal for commuters, parents on school runs, shopping trips and those doing everyday local driving. It’s also quick to charge, taking only 31 minutes when using a rapid charging 50kW system, and in that half an hour, you’ll go from a low battery warning back up to 80%.
You can plug the Honda e into any domestic supply using the standard leads supplied to charge when you need to. I liked that there is a 230 V power outlet in the car to plug your electrical items in on the move.
On the theme of technology, the Honda e is crammed with it. Both for occupant safety with driving aids and for user pleasure with Apps, smartphone mirroring and even HDMI connection so you could watch a film, for instance, on the dashboard displays.
One piece of technology for the Driver is the Single Pedal Control that allows you to accelerate and slow the Honda e using only the accelerator pedal. When set, this system means releasing the accelerator pedal engages regenerative braking, slowing the vehicle and putting power back into the battery, adding to the mileage range. To list all the other technology would take an age; needless to say, it comes with Lane Departure Warning, Rear Camera for reversing safely, and Blind-Spot Warning.
Handling is impressive, the Honda e giving confidence cornering even at considerable speed. The ride is smooth, with the suspension soaking up even the terrible surface of the M27. The direct drive from the electric motors means there are no gear changes, so your journies are silky smooth.
The Honda e has a clean and simplistic look; the door handles lie flush when not used and pop out when required. Continuing with this theme means a Side Camera System has replaced door mirrors and small screens within the dashboard display a camera view of what is to the side and behind the car. You quickly get used to looking at the screens, which are crystal clear and don’t get fogged or iced up.
Honda has paid much attention to the car’s lights, Bold, ‘eye-like LED headlights to illuminate your path. The headlights give the impression that they are giving you a warm welcome when you walk up to the car and press unlock. Daytime running lights means the vehicle is visible when your main lights are not in use.
The Honda e is all about interior space, and the panoramic sky roof conveys this. The cabin and rear passenger area are roomy and comfortable. Everything has been done to declutter the interior, providing plenty of legroom while still giving occupants places to store drinks, charge electronics and carry luggage. The 171 L boot means versatility to carry all sorts, shopping, sports kits or luggage for a holiday. Increase the rear space by folding down the back seat.
Adding to the futuristic theme of the car is the rear-view mirror, which can be a conventional one or a digital screen. You see what you would through a mirror in the standard view, but switch to digital, and it becomes a Centre Camera Mirror System. Only available on the Honda e Advanced, the image is displayed from a rear-view camera for an even more comprehensive picture of the vehicles behind you.
Final thoughts on the Honda e
Honda has a superb vehicle with the e, and you can tell I am impressed with it. But would I buy one? This is tricky because the car is perfect for commuting, shopping trips, and fun to take on local journeys. The Honda e is excellent to drive, practical and makes me smile. There are issues, though, that prevent me from saying YES to buying one.
The Honda e’s price is in my opinion too high, causing it to venture dangerously close to Tesla Model 3 and Skoda Enyaq territory. Both of those models have longer ranges and are larger, with more storage and passenger space. I am sure Honda will be addressing the issue of range, and they will have a new electric model launched soon or improve the Honda e.
So at present, I love the Honda e, but I couldn’t live with one due to my needs. I would say it is a bit like wanting to be with a Supermodel, but as some people have reported, they might not be easy to live with.
The Honda e – Where and How?
The starting price is £28000 for Honda e. The Honda e Advanced is £30,715; this comes with Park Pilot to allow the car to reverse park itself. The centre mirror system is also only on the Advance. Five colours are available in the range, Charge Yellow, which I had, then Platinum White Pearl, Crystal Blue Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic and finally Crystal Black Pearl. For more information on the Honda e, please visit https://www.honda.co.uk.
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