I’m not exactly what you’d call an electric car fanatic. I currently own a V12 BMW that I’d be impressed to see double digit mpgs from, and a turbocharged MX-5 that has a decel fuel map so rich that it has a holiday home in the south of France. However, there’s something about the dinky little Honda e that speaks to me, and apparently to other colleagues at the CT office too. To work out why we’re drawn to it, we thought we’d borrow one on a long-term basis and see what it’s actually like to live with.
So here it is, our new Honda e in the rather bright shade of ‘Charge Yellow’ (+10 EV cliche points for that paint name). It’s the ‘Advance’ model, which pushes power from 134bhp to 152bhp, and decreases 0-62 time from 9.0 seconds to an absolutely scorching 8.3 seconds. The Advance also gets a ‘parking assistant’ which can park the car for you, a heated steering wheel, a camera-based rear view mirror, and a host of other little trinkets in the already tech packed interior. Oh and we’d be remiss to not mention the virtual aquarium that spans the two huge interior screens. Utterly pointless, but just so perfectly Japanese.
Firstly, and naturally most importantly, skids. Can it do them? It is RWD after all. Well yes, and no. The ‘VSC’ stability system can only be partially turned off. No matter how long I’ve held the off button, no matter how delicately or hard I push it, it only ever partially relaxes the system. This means that the moment the momentum starts to push the back of the car around, it cuts all power from you. Boo, but also good for all the actual Honda e consumers that aren’t trying to run tandems on their way to work.
The 8.3 second 0-62mph time is deceiving, as the instant torque propels you forward far quicker than you’re expecting. It makes junctions and roundabouts a doddle as you can effortlessly jump into your space with no hesitation or lag. Cornering is another story however. At our current level of battery technology, it’s essentially impossible to build a properly lightweight EV, and the e suffers from this. It tips the scales at 1595kg. Yep, 1595, in a car that easily qualifies as ‘tiny’ in 2021 standards. The car doesn’t understeer through corners, it lists back and forth leaning through them.
Styling wise I think the e is a hit, but the dinnerplate wheels just don’t do it for me. Yes I understand that they’re there to help the car be more aerodynamic and help the range, but I just can’t gel with them. That’s not too big of an issue though thankfully. Honda has been gracious enough to not only loan us the e for a few months, but they’ve also given us permission to run some aftermarket wheels on it. So over the next month or so, we’re hoping to get wheels test fitted and see what offset and design it’ll sink in those arches. Consider me very excited, and let us know what wheels you think should go on the car!
The largest hiccup in this long term test will undoubtedly be that this car is built for use in the hustle and bustle of city life; doing small trips every day and then going onto the charger at night. With just 100 miles of real-world range, it was never going to be made for cross continental trips, this is an out and out urban car.
However I do not live in the city, I live in the countryside where every trip is 15-20 miles just to get to the brink of normal life and charging stations. Splendid. This has already caused a few problems, but we’ll get further into that in the next article.
We’ll be updating you on the car as we go, and telling you about what we like and dislike (there’s already a list growing on both sides) as the miles continue to silently roll.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know about the car, or anything you’d like to see us do with it, let us know in the comments.