Honda’s first electric car goes on sale soon. It’s been two-and-a-half years since the concept wowed onlookers at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, but buyers have needed plenty of patience.
I should know. I ordered mine as soon as possible, nine months ago, and I’m itching to get my hands on it.
Like every other potential customer, I haven’t been able to drive it yet, although my dealer did offer me a sneak walk around one of the prototypes Honda shipped over last month.
To learn more, I grilled Dave Hodgetts, MD of Honda UK, along with Head of Car Phil Webb for some answers to the key questions you’ve been asking.
After that, you can read the Motoring Research review of the Honda e here.
When will the Honda e arrive?
Officially, Honda says ‘summer’. But our sources reveal the first cars could be with customers in June 2020. That’s unless the ongoing coronavirus crisis leads to delays.
What’s the Honda e line-up?
There are just two models: the £26,160 Honda e and £28,660 e Advance.
The pricier car has a more powerful motor, a camera for the interior mirror (in addition to those for the door mirrors), a premium audio system and self-parking capability.
Are there any enticements?
Like the free wallbox charger you get with Vauxhall’s Corsa-e? Sadly, no.
My Honda dealer did offer a complimentary upgrade to 17-inch alloy wheels, though.
What if I don’t like the car?
Good question. You did, after all, make a firm commitment with your dealer when you exchanged the £800 online reservation fee for a £500 order deposit.
There might be room for negotiation after you test-drive the Honda e. However, MD David Hodgetts is convinced you will love it anyway.
With its range of around 130 miles, the Honda e is best suited to home charging. Plug it in overnight and you’ll always start the day with full batteries.
The Honda Power Charger is a bespoke home charging station that looks very cool. Dealers will have details nearer the time you take delivery.
What about the Honda e’s driving range?
That depends on the wheel size. With standard 16-inch alloys, it’s 137 miles. But choosing the optional 17 inch alloys reduces that figure to 131 miles.
So, the smaller wheels make more sense – and they’ll almost certainly result in a more comfortable ride. But they don’t look as good…
What’s the difference between the two Honda e models?
Both offer a great package, including cameras for door mirrors, the amazing full-width video display on the dashboard, a glass roof, pop-out door handles, heated seats, satellite navigation and a huge raft of safety features.
In addition, the Honda e Advance will heat your bottom, hands and the windscreen, park itself and entertain you with an upgraded audio system. It also has more power (154hp versus 136hp), while the centre mirror is actually a rear-view monitor.
Are any extras available?
When I ordered my Honda e, the only choices I could make involved the wheels and body colour. Charge Yellow (actually, more ‘lurid green’ than yellow) is the one no-cost paint option. The other four colours are an extra £550.
Now you can have leather front seats for £1,395 – an option I wish had been available when I ordered.
What are the Honda e’s rivals?
If we take the Honde e Advance’s close-to-£30,000 list price, there is plenty of competition. This includes the Mini Electric and exciting new electric Fiat 500. All are competing for the title of most desirable electric city car.
The Honda wins for recharging speed on public chargers, its amazing turning circle, its five-door configuration and, dare I say it, its standout design, both inside and out. The Mini is faster on the road, while the Fiat has a much greater range and is available as a convertible.
You can, of course, buy the much roomier Nissan Leaf for similar money, but it lacks the same feelgood factor. On the other hand, VW’s forthcoming ID.3 looks very slick. It may be the electric car to watch over the coming year.
Can I buy the e at any Honda dealer?
Almost. All Honda dealers are trained to sell and service the e. However, you may need to travel to another branch of that dealer group to do the deal.
What about servicing the Honda e, and its warranty?
Honda’s new cars come with the three-year warranty, which is hardly industry-leading. The e’s battery is guaranteed for eight years, though.
Will there be more Honda electric cars?
There are plenty of petrol/electric hybrids coming, such as the new Jazz – a car we don’t feature on Motoring Electric as it isn’t zero emissions. However, another fully electric Honda (details TBC) is due before 2022.