Fully electrified in a futuristic retro design - The Honda e

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Design and digitization are the levers with which Honda wants to win customers over for its first all-electric car, the Honda e. The concept is as clear and puristic as the design of the small car, which at 3,85 meters (10 centimeters) is significantly shorter than the Jazz, but with a starting price of 33.850 euros, it is quite a chunk. Even if politicians will eventually bring themselves to lower this list price with the announced funding by 6000 euros. The delivery should take place “in spring”. Given the funding conditions hanging in the air, even Honda is in no great hurry to put an electric car in the salesrooms.

Honda e - Successful design language

For a very ambitious price, the customer then receives “a vehicle of the year 2030, realized with the technical possibilities of today”, as Honda announced somewhat full-bodied at the driving presentation. The Honda e does not come out quite as futuristic, even though it presents itself quite successfully in a new design language that can become style-forming for small cars and electric cars. How the iPhone pre-trained it for cell phones.

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Honda e-cameras replace the side mirrors

Smooth surfaces, clear shapes - everything seems reduced to the essentials. Round headlights, in which all light functions from daytime running lights, flashing lights and high beams are combined, no side mirrors - instead high-resolution cameras with a water-repellent lens surface - recessed door handles, lines and joints as drawn with a ruler. All pretty cool, which means nothing more than the “modern” that has gone out of fashion today.

A car that attracts attention and a car that does a lot differently than is common for this class and size.

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Honda e - Easily accessible power socket

For example, to drive through the rear axle. The perfect solution in terms of driving dynamics. Honda packs the 35,5 kWh battery into the base assembly, the charging and power electronics under the bonnet. A gimmick: Where others try to hide their loading point, Honda opens a well visible hatch in the style of a roof window in the hood.

The drive motor is hardly larger than an alternator in the past and integrated into the rear axle.

Honda e - Two power levels with 315 Nm of torque

With an output of 100 kW / 136 hp (alternatively there is also a 113 kW / 154 hp version, which, however, only provides better acceleration, but otherwise provides identical performance and range) and a torque of a whopping 315 Newton meters, it brings the Honda e in 9 or 8,3 seconds at 100 km / h and at the top up to 145 km / h. Honda perfects the so-called “one-pedal driving”. If you activate this mode in the center console, you can almost forget the brake pedal. Every small decrease in the pedal pressure on the right lets the Honda go into maximum recuperation and slow down to a standstill. In fact, after a short period of getting used to it, you get to really only control the flow of the car using the accelerator pedal and to regenerate maximum electricity.

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Honda e - sports car tuning, but clear range     

In this rear-wheel drive layout, the loads in the car are distributed 50 to 50 between the front and rear axles. The Honda e is thus perfectly balanced and a real outlier in terms of driving dynamics. This sports car set-up is garnished with a load-free steering and a turning circle of only 8,60 meters. It could hardly be more handy. It fits a car whose primary use is for Honda in the city and its immediate surroundings. From which a fairly clear framework is also derived for the range.

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Honda e - Fast recharge during lunch break

According to the manufacturer, the 33,5 kWh battery power is sufficient for 222 kilometers after measurement in the WLTP cycle. According to our first experiences, this is a very optimistic statement. During the presentation, we boarded a pre-series vehicle that showed a loading level of 97 percent and calculated a range of 130 kilometers. After 110 test kilometers on city, country and expressways, the car still reported 26 percent remaining charge and a feasible range of 42 kilometers. After recharging to 99 percent during lunch, the electric Honda calculates a range of 160 kilometers.

Honda e - charging up to 80 percent within 30 minutes   

If you are really only in the city and can dock in the evening at the wall box or at a public charging station, you will most likely get by and can leave a charging station with 7,4 kW AC fully charged in just over four hours. Such a charging process takes more than 18 hours on the classic household socket with the standard cable. The battery can be recharged to 50 percent within 100 minutes at the so-called quick charging stations with 30 or 80 kW DC.

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Honda e - lounge atmosphere and comprehensive digitization

Like the exterior, the interior exudes a line of modern and retro. A maximum of four occupants can expect a lounge atmosphere and widespread digitalization. Mocha-brown seat belts, fabrics in the classic pepper and salt pattern meet a wood-plastic bar that runs across the strictly linear dashboard, which here lives up to the second part of the word. We felt strongly reminded of the beginnings of Japanese car exports and the attempts at refinement that were common at the time. Honda does not dare to treat itself to the courage to use real wood, such as BMW had with the i3. Or would that be classified as a waste of resources or tree level?

Honda e - The personal assistant knows the answer to all questions

This somewhat strange wood look then opens up a broadband cinema that actually does justice to the announcement “Auto von 2030”.

Except for the air conditioning, everything runs with touch and swipe gestures. Or by voice. The personal assistant is permanently docked via the cloud in the Google universe and provides the answer to all questions. It goes without saying that all driving and safety systems are built into this Honda, the car can drive into all kinds of parking spaces independently and can be opened, pre-air-conditioned, located, monitored or released for driving using an app or code ,

Honda e - fully digital displays deliver information almost a meter wide

Three high-resolution screens (two 12,3 inches, one 8,8 inches) provide all the information and entertainment that modern people in the car are supposed to need to feel behind the wheel as if on the couch at home or in front of the car PC in the office. This information strip, which looks like a monitor and whose contents can be exchanged or shared, moved or even disappeared, is flanked by two six-inch models on which the cameras on the side provide the image that can traditionally be seen in the wing mirror. Certainly cool, but not at least on the left side, because the mirror monitor is partially covered by the steering wheel hand.

Honda e - With 171 liters little room in the trunk

The rear view mirror alternatively offers a wide-screen camera image or the classic mirror view, which includes what is going on in the back seat. There, two people can accommodate quite well beyond school age. Where the e-Honda falls is still further back, with the luggage. A trunk with a volume of 171 liters huddles under the tailgate, which due to its lack of height is already overwhelmed with two suitcases approved for use on planes. Whoever carries the bulky charging cable for the public juice points there is quite limited. The back seat backrest can be folded down completely and then creates a smooth surface that can accommodate up to 861 liters of load, but as a practical city car, the Honda e has to let the front-wheel-drive competitors take the lead. Even with storage space for the usual small things, the Honda designers have not put much effort into it. Great driving dynamics and rear-engine drive require a compromise when it comes to the payload. 911 owners have lived in this conflict forever.

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