I’ve bought a brand new Honda e. No, I didn’t borrow one for a few days, or squeeze a six-month loan from Honda UK. I spent £30k of my own money on the coolest and, potentially, most fun electric car you can buy.
It’s well known that the Honda e has one of the shortest ranges of any new electric car, save those from Smart and the weird-but-wonderful Renault Twizy. Why spend so much on something so constrained, then?
Well, I like things that are high quality and great fun. My Honda lawnmower was very expensive back in 1997, but it’s still going strong. I’ve also owned a Porsche 911 for 21 years and I still love it.
Sense and sensibility
So, when Honda announced 18 months ago that its new electric car could be reserved for a refundable down-payment of £800, there seemed nothing to lose. Gradually, however, the growing proximity of delivery meant a serious decision was needed about whether to go ahead with the purchase.
If you analyse such decisions with clinical intensity, as sadly I do, it’s pretty apparent there’s no right answer. Yes, I’d like an electric car. And for £30,000, there’s a lot of choice. Similar-sized offerings from Peugeot and Vauxhall offer 50 percent more range, while you can pick up the far roomier Nissan Leaf for much less.
Yet I kept coming back to the fact there’s nothing else quite like the Honda e. I reckon in 10 years time we’ll still marvel at how bold Honda has been. Cars like this arrive once in a decade. So I stuck with Plan A.
A deal is done
I’ve been running the car for a month now, covered 600 miles, and bravely completed a 200-mile round-trip in a day. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, as has my wife who also loves how easy the Honda is to drive and live with.
We charge at home simply by plugging into the mains socket in the garage. Not ideal, but an overnight charge sees the battery back to maximum until we make a decision on a proper home charger. Our old Pod Point, which we’ve had for what must be eight years, has given up the will to live and it makes no economic sense to get it repaired.
The Honda e has seats that might suit your lounge at home, a comfortable ride for a smallish car and great visibility. We can even squeeze a decent supermarket shop into the boot, which isn’t as tiny as it first seems once you move the charging cables elsewhere.
A steep learning curve
The Honda e is packed with technology. The screens that spread right across the dashboard are both a talking point, a useful source of information, and sometimes a distraction. Thankfully, there’s a button that allows virtually the whole lot to be switched off.
I’ll go more into detail in a future report, because there’s much to say – and initially it seemed both the dealers and Honda UK were as bedazzled by the tech as owners.
Cornwall, here we come
I’ve had to brace myself to deal with the “How far will she go?” question, both from electric car aficionados and the Luddites. The official figure is around 125 miles, but I reckon 110-115 miles is more realistic, which means refuel stops inevitably occur around 80 miles apart, just to be on the safe side.
It’s not a problem for me as we use the Honda for local journeys, for which it was designed. Mind you, because it’s such a nice piece of kit, I hanker after doing a 500-mile trip to Cornwall sometime soon. That will take some planning…