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All-electric Honda Fit's range will beat the competition

June 07, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
  • The new all-electric 2013 Honda Fit EV is seen during its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The new all-electric 2013 Honda Fit EV is seen during its debut at the Los… (Reed Saxon, AP )

Honda Motor Co.'s all-electric version of its popular Fit subcompact will be able to travel 82 miles on a single charge, leapfrogging its competitors in mileage range, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Fit's range is better than the Ford Focus electric (76 miles), the Nissan Leaf (73 miles) and the Mitsubishi i MiEV (62 miles).

"The 82 miles is great. Every little bit helps when you are talking about range in an electric vehicle," said John O'Dell, who follows alternative fuel vehicles for auto information company Edmunds.com.

The electric Fit, which will debut this summer, has among the smallest batteries of the electric vehicles on the market. The 20-kilowatt-hour battery is 13% smaller than the Focus' and 17% smaller than the Leaf's. Only the Mitsubishi, the tiniest car in the group, has a smaller charge capacity.

The Fit's small battery makes it less expensive and faster to charge — about three hours at 240 volts — and contributes to its class-leading miles per gallon equivalent rating.

"The car is lighter and smaller, so a smaller battery will take it farther," O'Dell said.

The EPA rated the car at 118-mpg equivalent. The Mitsubishi is 112; the Focus, 105; and the Leaf, 99.

The EPA estimates the Fit's annual fuel cost at $500.

Honda plans to begin leasing the battery-electric commuter vehicle to customers in select California and Oregon markets this summer, followed by an East Coast rollout in 2013. A 36-month lease will be offered at $389 per month with no down payment.

The automaker plans to build only 1,100 electric Fits and won't allow consumers to buy the cars outright.

"This is really a test program," O'Dell said.

jerry.hirsch@latimes.com

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