New Honda e electric car: reservations open ahead of 2020 release date

UK order books have opened for the Honda e retro-styled all-electric supermini, with first deliveries due for spring 2020

The all-electric Honda e electric car is now available to pre-order in the UK with a refundable reservation fee of £800. First deliveries for the Japanese firm’s baby EV are expected by Spring 2020, with pre-order customers given priority status.

Honda has revealed five new colour options for the electric supermini, with white, blue and gun-metal metallic finishes available, as well as a subdued black and striking yellow. The Japanese firm says it has already received over 20,000 ‘expressions of interest’ across Europe, with 6,000 coming from the UK.

• 2019 Geneva Motor Show coverage

The Honda e concept, which debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, is “98 per cent” the finished model. Remaining revisions to the production version due to be shown in September will be limited to software and drivetrain tweaks, so not to discourage the influx of interested customers.

Honda’s design team used the brand’s classic cars, such as the Mk1 Civic, as inspiration. As such, it retains relatively compact dimensions, measuring 3,895mm long, 1,750mm wide and 1,495mm tall, making it more compact than the BMW i3 and the Renault ZOE. As such, there is only seating for four people, with a full-width rear bench accommodating two adults.

Exterior design chief Ken Sahara told Auto Express: “The production car was finalised before we showed the concept, so the design was fixed. Other areas of the business were sceptical about our approach; but the reception the concept car received changed that.”

The Honda e sits on a new, dedicated platform for EVs. Honda claims the car will be capable over 125 miles (WLTP) on a single charge and, when plugged into a fast-charging unit, it’ll recover 80 per cent of its battery capacity in 30 minutes.

However, Honda is yet to confirm the size of the e’s battery pack. Using the quoted range as a guide, we suspect it’ll come with a battery capacity of around 30kWh; less than half of that offered in the Kia e-Niro. A single electric motor on the rear axle drives the car, but Honda has yet to issue any performance figures.

Designers have started from scratch with the e’s cabin. It’s dominated by a bank of digital screens; two 12.3-inch displays sit side by side to create a single dash display that stretches across the width of the dashboard and provide access to a suite of in-car apps and media functions.

Two six-inch monitors sit in each corner of the dashboard to show the rear view from the cameras on the doors that act as wing mirrors, while a smaller digital readout replaces conventional instruments.

There is currently no indication of how much the Honda e will cost, but project leader Kohei Hitomi indicated it will not be a budget vehicle. “Cost is an important factor,” he told us. “Look at the iPhone: they are not cheap products but still everybody wants them. The high cost has a justification. It is full of practicality and performance – we believe the same of our electric vehicle. We do not want to provide a low-cost product.”

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