As a global automaker, Honda likes to think of itself as forward thinking, innovative, and ahead of the competition. So much so, Honda’s corporate slogan “The Power of Dreams” is meant to engender a feeling that Honda can do things that other automakers cannot. The impossible, if you will.
Yet when it comes to Honda’s Fit EV, the all-electric variant of Honda’s erstwhile and versatile subcompact, many would-be Honda Fit owners are having their dreams smashed with the news that despite continued high demand, Honda will be ending Fit EV production this fall.
In a letter posted to a potential Fit EV customer (via GreenCarReports), Honda thanks them for their interest in the Fit EV, detailing that despite long waiting lists for the five-seat EV, Honda will be ending its planned 1,100 unit production in early fall 2014. Until that point, around 40 Fit EVs per month will be sent Honda-authorised Fit EV dealers across the U.S.
That particular piece of information isn’t exactly new: in fact, when the Japanese automaker first unveiled the production version of the Fit EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2011, it was crystal clear about its intentions to produce only 1,100 cars. Targeted to markets where it was required by law to produce a limited number of zero emission vehicles in order to sell any of its other cars and trucks, Honda’s Fit EV was and is just a compliance car.
As with some other compliance cars — like the Toyota RAV4 EV and Fiat 500e, the Honda Fit EV is incredibly well made and engineered, offering the perfect mix of performance, practicality and range in a ‘normal-looking’ package. Add to that a 6.6 kilowatt on-board charger and a headline zero-down three-year lease with unlimited mileage of $259 per month, and we think you’ll see why the Fit EV is so popular.
Faced with such overwhelming demand, you’d think that Honda would be rethinking its limited-run plans for the fit EV, especially if it could net Honda some additional kudos among environmentally-conscious buyers.
Despite the long waiting lists held by most Fit EV dealers of customers desperate to get behind the wheel however, Honda remains steadfast to its original plan. At the same time, citing poor sales, Honda has pulled its Insight and CR-Z hybrids from sale in Europe, and informed its U.S. dealers it would end Insight production completely by November.
When it comes to future hybrid models, rumors from Japan suggest Honda is looking to its new i-DCD drive system — which uses an Atkinson cycle engine paired with an electric motor and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox– to provide hybrid variants of its existing and future gasoline cars. Save for a few concept cars and low-speed Japanese-market NEVs, it’s unlikely we’ll see a full-size EV from Honda any time soon.
Fiercely confident that Hydrogen fuel cell cars are the future, it appears Honda wants to focus its technology and investment on bringing FCEV rather than BEV vehicles to market — but will it succeed in its goal? And will its axing of electric vehicles for the second time in recent memory cause it to be forever tarnished as an anti-EV automaker?
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