Promoted | Honda e: designed to be driven

Who says electric cars aren’t fun to drive? Not Honda. The new Honda e has been crafted to be nimble and fun – especially in the heart of the city...

The new Honda e has been crafted to be nimble and fun to drive – especially in the city

The Honda e was designed to be different, in the right way. Its clean, simple retro look helps it stand out in a sea of bland city cars. But it’s not simply a case of form over function. The Honda e drives every bit as good as it looks.

It’s rare that car designers get to start from zero. After all, you can’t redesign the wheel. But the Honda e’s clean-sheet, ground-up design and the packaging benefits of electric power let Honda challenge conventions and defy established norms. 

How big should a city car be? With electric power, where does the ‘engine’ go and where does the power meet the road? How should an electric city car handle?

This “question everything” approach wasn’t taken to be different or quirky. Instead, Honda used the opportunity to re-think what an electric city car is, and how it should drive, in order to make a Honda e in which form and function worked together perfectly. In short: something that looks great and drives even better.

Leading from the rear

It all starts with how the Honda e delivers its electric power to the road. If you thought rear-wheel-drive was the preserve of performance cars, think again. Instead of the front-wheel-drive traditionally used on small city cars, the Honda e is rear-wheel-drive, making it nimbler, more precise and more fun to drive on tight city streets.

The choice of a 100kW (134PS) or 113kW (151PS) electric motors both offer 315Nm of torque that is all delivered in an instant, rather than the slow build of petrol power. The result is punchy, sporty 0-62mph acceleration of just 9.5 seconds.

Two modes (‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’) let you choose the right mood for your journey, while powerful regenerative braking – which uses the electric motor to slow the car, while pushing unused energy back into the battery – lets you drive with just a single pedal, while also preserving range. That’s great for both stop-start traffic jams, and more sporty driving on open roads. 

The lack of gears on an electric car means you can spend more time focusing on the road. And, when compared to the pitter-pat of petrol engines, the Honda e’s whisper-quiet electric motor is more calming and relaxing. Perfect when you’re stuck in the noisy bustle of city traffic, or if you just want to enjoy the sounds of the country.

The low-down on weight

The Honda e’s clean-sheet electric design also helped Honda engineer a chassis that has city-friendly handling and refinement to match its power. Honda has used water-cooling technology to make the Honda e’s high-capacity 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery smaller and more efficient. The battery has also been packaged to lie flat and low down in the chassis, entirely between the front and rear wheels.

This gives the Honda e a much lower centre of gravity and perfect 50:50 weight distribution compared to a traditional petrol car with a tall and bulky engine up-front. Think of the Honda e’s chassis as a nimble (and very potent) electric skateboard.

The result is handling that is incredibly stable and nippy – perfect for city streets. You may think a traditional London taxi has a tight turning circle at 7.62m, required to navigate the Savoy Hotel’s roundabout. But, with a turning radius of just 4.3m, the Honda e can effortlessly outmanoeuvre any cabbie in a parking contest.

The low-slung battery also let Honda design a cabin that is more open and spacious, giving you a more refined and comfortable interior that enhances every drive.

Intelligent on the move

Honda has also added lots of clever technology to the Honda e that makes driving easier, safer and more enjoyable. For a start, who needs mirrors? Instead of using conventional wing mirrors – which cause range-sapping aerodynamic drag – Honda has developed a next-gen Side Camera Mirror System for the Honda e. 

A first for the city car segment, it uses small side-mounted cameras to broadcast rear-view images to screens on either side of the Honda e’s full-width digital dashboard. It gives the Honda e’s exterior a sleeker, less cluttered look, and cuts 90% of the aerodynamic drag caused by large wing mirrors – improving the overall drag coefficient of the Honda e by 3.8%, while also cutting wind noise.

With a choice of ‘normal’ or ‘wide’ view, it reduces blind spots by up to 50%, while reversing guidelines help you park your car more easily. But why park your car, when you can use Honda Parking Pilot to do the whole thing automatically?

On the move, intelligent Honda Sensing technology lends a helping hand. Cross Traffic Monitor warns you of unseen traffic when reversing, while Lead Car Departure Notification, Collision Mitigation Throttle Control and Low Speed Brake Function take the stress off and keep you safe in stop-start traffic.

Once out on the open road, Adaptive Cruise Control and an Intelligent Speed Limiter with Traffic Sign Recognition helps you maintain the right pace, while Lane Keeping Assist and Road Departure Mitigation keep you on the right track, and Blind Spot Information sensors warn you of unseen traffic.

The result is a Honda e that is perfect for the city. Sportier, nimbler and safer. And, yes, different. But also better in every way.

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