Honda debuts Fit electric vehicle concept for city commuters

Honda unveiled its all-new Fit EV Concept electric vehicle, a five-passenger car intended to meet the needs of a city commuter, and a new plug-in hybrid platform.

Honda on Wednesday unveiled its all-new Fit EV Concept electric vehicle, a five-passenger car intended to meet the needs of a city commuter.

The company also announced a platform for a mid-size plug-in hybrid vehicle, which showcases Honda's next-generation, two-motor hybrid technology.

Both will debut in 2012.

"In Honda's view, an electric vehicle must offer great utility and be fun to drive," Honda Motor CEO Takanobu Ito said in a statement. "Fit EV's urban commuting capability will be a perfect addition to the full-function mobility of the plug-in hybrid and FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle."

The Fit

The Fit EV will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and a high-density coaxial electric motor derived from the FCX Clarity. It will top out at 90 miles per hour and manage a 100-mile driving range per charge.

A three-mode electric drive system -- adapted from the new 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid --  allows the driver to select between "Econ," "Normal" and "Sport" modes to toggle between efficiency and performance.

Honda says Econ mode boosts the driving range by 17 percent over Normal and 25 percent over Sport.

The Fit EV will include interactive coaching systems to help educate you on how to drive to maximize range, and a meter display makes suggestions -- to turn off air conditioning or other accessories, for example -- to conserve battery power.

The Fit EV will also offer connectivity for a smartphone and personal computer, as well as a proprietary remote control. Why? So you can use a mobile application to see, remotely, the vehicle's charge level.

It also comes with Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System standard, which will locate a public charging-station for you.

A full recharge takes less than 12 hours when using a conventional 120-volt outlet, and less than six hours when using a 240-volt outlet, Honda says.

Honda displayed the vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show alongside a prototype Honda charging stand, with which a driver swipes a card in front of the screen and then connects the charger to the vehicle.

The plug-in hybrid

Honda's plug-in hybrid platform, on the other hand, is integrated into a mid-size sedan platform to bridge the gap.

The goal is to allow for all-electric short trips and longer commutes with a 2.0-liter, i-VTEC inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine tied to a CVT, or continuously variable transmission. It has three modes: all-electric, gasoline-electric and engine direct-drive.

It uses regenerative braking to charge the battery.

Under the hood is a 6kWh lithium-ion battery and a 120 kW electric motor. In all-electric mode, that results in about 10 to 15 miles in city driving and a top speed of 62 m.p.h.

(A full recharge: 2 to 2.5 hours using a 120-volt outlet and 1 to 1.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet.)

Honda also announced that it would launch a technology demonstration program this year to test its new vehicles in the real world. Partners include Stanford University, the City of Torrance, Calif. and Google.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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