MEDIA REVIEWS is a compilation of reviews and write-ups of test drives of various e-drive vehicles by the different authors and media. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of EV World. Click the article title to expand the story.
Honda Electric Car Drives Itself to Home Charger
Honda engineers are developing a Fit EV that automatically positions itself over a wireless charging coil.
Ubergizmo 20 Jun 2014
Electric cars like those from Tesla could be the future of the automobile, but until majority of the infrastructure in cities and the suburbs have been modified to include electric vehicle charging, seeing one of the road is not going to be as common as you might think it would be. Engineers over at Honda Motor of Japan are currently developing an electric vehicle which is touted to be able to drive itself into a home carport whenever it detects that its battery level has dropped to a predetermined amount, allowing it to be juiced up sans wires from there.
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Basically, whenever you drive the Honda EV home and stop, getting out of the car, your smartphone will then be used to instruct the electric vehicle so that it will drive itself into the carport for a wireless recharging session, ensuring that you would have a fully recharged ride ready and waiting for you the next morning. The Honda EV is capable of pinpointing the exact location of the carport located a map in its computer.
There will be a bunch of cameras that will be installed on the EV as well as at the house so that they will all work in tandem to make sure the Honda EV will be able to avoid obstacles.
Honda Fit EV: Saving Energy, Money In the Long Run
EPA gives Honda FIT EV highest efficiency rating for any electric car, and saves on energy costs as well, but that doesn't mean people are going to buy it.
Phys.Org 10 Jun 2012
Honda announced the eye-popping figure Wednesday, making the small, four-door hatchback more efficient than electric rivals like the Ford Focus, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. It goes on the market this summer in Oregon and California.
The electric Fit has an estimated price tag nearly twice as high as the gasoline-powered version. It would take 11 years before a driver makes up the difference and begins saving on fuel.
With gas prices falling, the high sticker price for electric vehicles is becoming more of a barrier for American buyers, even though the vehicles are far more efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. That's hurting sales of electrics.
Through May, carmakers sold just over 10,000 electric vehicles, less than 0.2 percent of U.S. car and truck sales.
That's because the numbers don't add up for the average consumer.
— The electric Fit needs 28.6 kilowatt hours of electricity to go 100 miles (160 kilometers). At the national average price of 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour, that costs $3.30.
A gas-powered automatic-transmission Fit, which gets 31 miles per gallon (13 kilometers per liter), needs to burn 3.2 gallons (12.11 liters) to travel 100 miles (160 kilometers). At the national average price of $3.57 per gallon of gasoline, that's $11.52.
— People drive an average of almost 13,500 miles (21,725 kilometers) a year, so a typical driver would spend $445 on electricity for an electric Fit over a year, and $1,552 on gasoline for a regular Fit.
— Honda has valued the price of an electric Fit at $29,125 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. That's $12,210 more than the gas-powered Fit — a savings of $1,107 per year to make up the difference between the electric and the gas-powered version.
Customers don't want to spend the extra money up front and wait for years for payback, said Geoff Pohanka, who runs 13 auto dealerships in Virginia and Maryland, including three that sell the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt electric cars.
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"People are smart. They're looking for the deal," he said. "Is somebody going to fork out $15,000 more for something that gets them less range than their car now? It's not happening."
At first, Honda will only be leasing Fit EVs in Oregon and California, for $389 per month. The subcompact seats up to five people and can be recharged in three hours with a 240-volt charging station. A fully charged Fit EV can go 82 miles (132 kilometers), meaning a daily commute could cost nothing for gasoline.
And leases can make sense for consumers. Carmakers can lower rates and subsidize deals in order to make a car — especially one with new, expensive technology — more attractive to buyers.
Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence for the car buying site TrueCar.com, said he tested an electric Chevrolet Volt, driving it less than 35 miles (56 kilometers) a day from his Los Angeles-area home to work and back. The cost of leasing it — $369 a month — is comparable to the $300 he would spend on gas.
"In a lot of these cases, I'm surprised that people are not lining up to get these things," he said.
The comparison between gas and electric cars also can vary with geography, largely because energy prices vary wildly across America.
In Oregon, where gasoline is 18 percent more expensive than the national average and electricity is 16 percent lower, an electric Fit will save $121 per month in fuel. In Connecticut, which has the highest power prices in the country, the monthly savings are just $83.
The fuel used to generate electric power and the cost of gasoline also vary by region —and that affects how environmentally friendly an electric car purchase is.
In Midwestern states that rely heavily on coal, driving an electric car produces 18 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than driving a typical gasoline-powered car, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Surprisingly, driving an electric car there produces 50 percent more greenhouse gases than driving a 50 mpg (21.26 kpl) electric hybrid.
In the Northeast and Northwest, where a bigger portion of the power is produced with nuclear reactors, hydroelectric dams, natural gas-fired power plants and wind farms, an electric car will produce 76 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a typical gasoline-powered car and 56 percent fewer emissions than a hybrid.
No matter what the energy costs, Honda expects to trumpet the Fit EV's 118 mpg (50 kpl) figure, even though it will lease only 1,100 of the cars in its first two years on the market.
Honda predicts that the initial customers for the Fit EV will won't be focusing on a cost-benefit analysis. Instead, they'll want to make a statement about cutting greenhouse gases and reducing dependence on foreign oil, said Robert Langford, Honda's manager of plug-in electric vehicle sales.
Like the rest of the auto industry, Honda isn't sure when or if electric vehicles will ever replace those that run on gas, he said. The company keeps constant watch on sales of electric cars already on the market like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.
"That's constantly on our mind right now and on our radar screen," said Langford.
Chevrolet doesn't actively market the Volt's 94 mpg (40 kpl) figure, because it's too confusing to explain to consumers that the car can drive that distance while running on electricity. The Volt, unlike other electrics, has a small gas engine on board to generate power for the car after the battery is depleted.
What resonates more with consumers is that the average Volt driver goes 900 miles before buying gasoline, said Cristi Landry, the car's marketing director.
She also isn't sure when electric cars will go beyond the environmentally conscious buyer and into the rest of America's driveways.
Electric vehicles, Toprak said, won't sell en masse until customers know they will ultimately save enough to take a risk on new technology.
"You're not buying it to save the trees," Toprak said. "You're buying it to save money for yourself."
Honda Delivers Fit EV to Google, Stanford University
Battery electric-powered Honda Fit is equipped with 20-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that should be good for a 76-mile average range, according to the EPA.
Digital Trends 15 Feb 2012
Honda is rolling out a battery-powered version of the Fit hatchback with deliveries to Google and Stanford University. As part of the “Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program,” the two groups, along with the city of Torrance, California, will collect data on their Fits and provide feedback to Honda.
“Honda’s experience and the unique feedback that Google, Stanford University and the city of Torrance will provide will be valuable to the future introduction of battery-electric technology,” said Steve Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office of American Honda. Google will use its Fit EV in an employee car-sharing program, which will analyze how the cars are used in everyday driving and to measure their energy consumption.
At Stanford, the Fit EV will be used to study the psychological and physical reactions of drivers switching from a gasoline-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle. The Fit EV will be paired with a regular Fit for the tests.
Potentially, this could provide some valuable insight into the “range anxiety” that is associated with electric cars. Because their shorter ranges leave less of a margin for error, and because they take hours, not minutes, to refuel, driving an electric car everyday might be a little more stressful than it appears.
The Fit EV is powered by a 123-hp electric motor and a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that should be good for a 76-mile average range, according to the EPA. A full recharge will take three hours from a 240-volt charger.
The Fit has a slightly smaller footprint than a Nissan Leaf, but thanks to its bulbous design, has more usable cargo space. The petrol Fit’s sporty character seems to have carried over too. “Compared with the [Nissan] Leaf, the Fit EV feels like a Mazda Miata,” said Eric Tingwall of Automobile.
Since the Fit was designed to have an internal combustion engine, it is unclear how retrofitting it with an electric one will affect cabin noise, or whether tweaks will be needed to make the body more aerodynamic to increase range, as in the Leaf.
After Google and Stanford get their turn, Honda will lease 1,100 Fit EVs in California and Oregon this summer, and the East Coast beginning in spring 2013. The price will be $399 a month for a three-year lease. This is a similar approach to the one Honda took with the FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell car, and BMW with the electric Mini E. The cars will be mobile data points, allowing Honda to continue the testing started by Google and Stanford with regular customers.
Honda to Test Electric Fit in China
Based on the Fit, the electric version is reported to have range up to 150 km per charge.
Nikkei/Japan 09 Nov 2011
GUANGZHOU, China -- Honda Motor Co. (7267) began road tests of an electric vehicle here Tuesday in preparation for joint-venture production with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.
The car is based on the Fit and can travel more than 150km on a single charge. It takes less than six hours to charge at 220 volts, according to the automaker.
Honda is developing EVs with urban Chinese in mind. It envisions the cars being charged when their drivers are out and about, since at-home charging is not an easy option for the many people living in housing complexes.
Joint-venture production of EVs with Guangzhou Automobile Group will begin as early as next year.
"Motors, batteries and other core components will initially be shipped from Japan, but we are hoping to lower costs by localizing procurement," said Seiji Kuraishi, Honda's chief operating officer for China, at the opening ceremony for the tests.
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