Honda has revealed the E electric car prototype as the sensible small car for urban commuting.
There’s a certain underserved segment of the population, and that’s the urban commuter. In North America, the land where cars are king and roads can never be too numerous, these tiny, city-only cars are a rare find. Many transit in from outer city suburbs by highway and so need a car with enough performance to maintain a certain velocity. Tiny cars like the Smart ForTwo were impractical and dangerous for such commutes, which explains why they’re no longer around.
But in Europe, things are different. Highways are there, sure, but there are a far greater number of people living in confined urban streets where something the size of a Cadillac wouldn’t even fit. For these cities, small cars are the norm, and Honda is catering to this audience with a brand new EV.
They call it the Honda E, and it’s an electric car with small cities in mind. It has a single electric motor that puts down 148 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, which doesn’t sound like much but remember: that torque is electric. That means it’s all there whenever you want it, making the car likely feel a lot zippier than the numbers would imply.
It also has a 35kWh battery that likewise doesn’t seem like much, but it gets a sufficient 125 miles on a full charge and can fast charge to 80% in just 30 minutes. That’s more than enough for getting around town to do groceries or see the latest film at the cinema.
It’s also small, low-slung, and has a very tight turning circle thanks to rear-wheel-drive and a battery that’s mounted below the floor. A 50:50 weight distribution combines with fully independent McPherson strut suspension to provide a comfortable ride more reminiscent of a larger sedan than a tiny hatchback.
If there’s one thing that we can find fault with, it’s Honda’s new Single Pedal Control. According to the press release, the Honda E will have just a single pedal: the accelerator. Press the pedal down to go, lift off to stop. Regenerative braking kicks in automatically.
This might be fine for stop-and-go urban commuting, but it severely limits the Honda E’s usage. Without a brake pedal, you can’t coast, which means the car wastes momentum. It also means you can’t perform an emergency brake manually, although presumably, Honda will have some sort of automatic emergency braking software installed.
It also means that if you can’t feather the brakes, your head will be whipped back and forth all day as you constant brake and accelerate. That can’t be comfortable.
We’ll obviously need to learn more about this system before we pass judgment, but it sounds like a bad idea at present.
The Honda E will arrive in Europe for 2025. No word on whether or not it will come State-side, but we’re guessing not.