Honda and, the manufacturer’s first electric, arrives in Europe and Italy. With the road test in Valencia, we discover autonomy, performance, how the standard virtual mirrors work, the comfort for passengers and how the technology that this car is stuffed to the core, from connectivity to the network and smartphones to six displays inside the passenger compartment.
And if it seems more like a smartphone than a car … maybe the small electric one is not for you because, while recalling the past in some of its lines, Honda looks to a world where mobility is changing and the needs of the new ones generations are changing in a new context. Not better or worse, but certainly different…
HOW IS IT
On the one hand, the electric offers a brilliant engine with an instantaneous torque higher than many small diesels on a weight that aligns with that of a segment B crossover. Furthermore, there is rear-wheel drive, a rigid frame, well balanced both in weights ( 50:50 ), both in the choice of suspensions and calibration of the cushioning which absorbs well but remains supported in the corners. And adding the very low centre of gravity, there are premises for a fun car.
Actually, driving, Honda is pleasant but the wow factor that could have differentiated the small electric from all the others is missing, perhaps with a setup more oriented to sporty driving. Obviously, these are choices: creating an extremely rigid and sporty city car, in fact, would have reduced the potential public, hence the desire to remain pleasant and satisfy everyone. Very small roll, stable in curves, Honda EV offers very easy and communicative but also progressive steering (thanks to the Variable Gear Ratio ) and digests the roughness of the road well despite a greater weight than its colleagues.
In short, the emotion is missing, but the fun is not lacking: shame about the absence of a more peppery mode, maybe a drift mode, freeing the engine a bit from the grip of the controls and going to annoy some hot hatch.
On the move, the absorption of the suspension is good, soft just as it is needed by a town that will often face disconnections and certainly not impeccable funds. The acoustic comfort leaves some doubts: Honda has done an excellent job with the virtual mirrors that cancel out any aerodynamic rustling at ear height. The rolling of the tires is noticeable, especially in the winter, and aerodynamic rustles arrive from the upper part which is emphasized on the highway by the fact that the electric motor is not clearly heard.
Behind you are comfortable since the car is approved for four people; if of medium height (maximum 1.8 m), the occupants have enough space both for the legs and for the height. Too bad the front armrest is missing, a lack even more felt on a car that makes the standard equipment its very strong point. The cockpit seems to recall home furniture and it is desired: materials and finishes come from the world of furniture and there is also the possibility of transforming 12.3-inch screens into an aquarium, useless but perfect to create the context of the lounge on wheels.
Finally, the space in the trunk: the electric Honda is certainly not designed for travel and, in the urban context, there is room for a small shopping or four backpacks but the side bulkheads prevent you from loading two trolleys at the same time unless you break down the seats.
There are two choices for the engine depending on the equipment selected: as a basic, we will have a 100 kW (136 HP) electric motor which is abundant for urban and extra-urban use to which this Japanese rear-wheel drive electric wrings the eye. The most powerful, Advance with 16 or 17 “wheels, sports 113 kW (154 HP) while the torque remains identical for both engines: 315 Nm.
Honda and accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in 9 seconds (110 kW) or in 8.3 seconds (113 kW), reaching in any case the maximum speed of 145 km / h
REAL AUTONOMY, CONSUMPTION AND BATTERY
The fascinating electric Hondaloses points in autonomy if we speak in absolute terms: the manufacturer declares 222 kilometers in WLTP with a recharge, a figure that would be more than enough for the use of many (and even for a few trips) as I have shown in the proof of the old IONIQ, especially if we put DC charging in the equation (80% in 30 minutes) and a little patience.
The declared data refers to a maximum value that can be reached in real life only with careful guidance. The real range of autonomy is 160/200 with a charge for the Advance with 17 “wheels, 170/210 km for the model with 16” wheels.
Real consumption during the test:17.2 kWh / 100 kmon the real route in the city, highway and extra-urban (single driver).Average of 19.3 kWh / 100 km at the end of the test by two different drivers
Note that Honda promises, thanks to the thermal management system of the battery, to be able to use rapid recharges often without damaging the battery, both in hot weather and in cold temperatures.
HOW TO RECHARGE
Powered by a battery with 35.5 kWh Panasonic cells, Honda’s first electric allows you to choose between charging in alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).
In AC you connect to columns or via wallbox. The home charger is 2.3 kW and takes about 19 hours for a full, otherwise obtained in just over 4 hours to a 7.4 kW public column. By charging in direct current, using the CCS2 connector, the time is approximately 30 minutes (at 80%) both for 50 kW and 100 kW.
How much does the refill cost?From home, assuming a cost of 0.25 euros per kWh, less than 9 euros are spent for full tank while at Enel X columns the cost is 17.75 euros.For a more realistic recharge price calculation, I recommend using the cost indicated in your electricity bill.
The liquid-cooled air-conditioned battery pack with water cooling and heating automatically adjusts the temperature according to the ambient temperature and is active during rapid charging. The electric proposal with a look inspired by the pastis also distinguished by how it recharges other devices: the traditional 12 V is flanked by a230 V socket with a maximum of 1,500 W in addition to the four USB(two in front and two behind)
How much do I spend per 100 kilometers?Charging from home (0.25 € / kWh) and consumption detected on test, you spend just over 4 €
ONE PEDAL AND ENERGY REGENERATION
One pedal is the expression used for driving a pedal, that of the accelerator. In automatic mode there are four levels of regenerative braking managed by the sensors:
- 0.04 g
- 0.06 g
- 0.08 g
- 0.1 g
In this mode, the brake lights do not come on because they always remain within the legal deceleration limit. The three-manual levels that can be set by activating the guide with a pedal are the following:
- 0.1 g
- 0.14 g
- 0.18 g
In this case, the creep function is deactivated and the car remains stationary when we release the pedal, rather than automatically advancing: the discs lock the wheels but thanks to regenerative braking, the emissions of particulate matter from the brakes are almost completely cancelled.
With One Pedal on OFF the intensity of the recovery can be changed but this is then restored in automatic mode. With the pedal-operated ON, the hand-selected level is maintained by the car.
INFOTAINMENT, APP AND PERSONAL ASSISTANT
In the face of top-of-the-range features, Honda loses points when it comes to fleeing its technology, showing off contrasts.
APH is the digital assistant that could become more interesting than the fact of showing off two huge 12.3 “displays. The system will have to grow and improve but it allows you to manage some car functions by recognizing natural language, which is still too immature today with the Italian language.
Voice assistants improve over time: the Germans who integrated them first represent proof of the progress made as users used the system and allowing them to refine the recognition
Connectivity with the smartphone is also something that projects Honda towards the standard of the future: the keys will disappear and the Japanese electricity will make them disappear already today, using the digital and automatic key on our mobile phone.
VIRTUAL MIRRORS AND DISPLAYS
The digital mirrors, in reality, they are excellent in fluidity, in the resolution and in the positioning of monitors and even have a water-repellent treatment so as to operate in any condition. Appreciated the possibility to choose between normal vision, which simulates the traditional glass mirror, and panoramic with 50% more field of view.
What happens after a few years to the water repellent treatment? Honda replied that there are no problems for at least 10 years
On the other hand, however, infotainment sports an interface halfway between traditional and modern and hardware that does not always make it fluid and snappy: on average, mind you, but from a car that makes certain premises, I would have expected more.
- 2 6 “screens for digital mirrors
- 2 12.3 “screens for driver and passenger infotainment
- 1 8.8 “TFT screen for digital instrumentation
The five screens are all HD and colour resolution, WiFi hotspot, USB sockets and HDMI input are available.
APP AND DIGITAL KEY ON THE SMARTPHONE
The app manages recharging, pre-air conditioning on three levels, car tracking, notification reception, on-board data and notification if the battery drops below 15% during an extended car stop. From the smartphone, you can send the searches made (for the navigator) or retrieve the parking position, as well as evaluate routes, consumption and driving styles. The digital key works via NFC on Android and via PIN on iOS and on those Android smartphones that do not have NFC.
The application for Honda does something more than usual thanks to the active notifications that warn when charging is finished, if we have left the car open or the windows are lowered (so as to close them with a button) and allows you to activate geofencing by tracing the car, remembering the parking and informing us when the vehicle leaves the set boundaries.
ADAS AND LVL AUTONOMOUS GUIDE 2
The new electric Honda sums up the state of the art for the Japanese manufacturer and offers everything as standard. There are no optional ADAS, creating one of the cars with the highest level of active safety and standard driving assistance, including an automatic warning for restarting at the traffic lights, braking in the event of an obstacle during the manoeuvre phase and also at reduced speed, to avoid any type of impact from distraction. There are also signal recognition, automatic high beam, limiter and notice of departure of the car that precedes us when we are in the queue.
The safety of the battery should also be mentioned, surrounded by three protection bars along each side of the frame.
With the Parking Pilot (the only optional on the basic version, standard on Advance) the automatic parking is complete: just a button, the car will search for free space and complete the manoeuvre autonomously by managing the accelerator, steering and brake, also assisting when exiting in situations with herringbone, comb and reverse parking.
DIMENSIONS AND LUGGAGE
The overall dimensions are that of an electric citizen who must make compactness and ease his strong point and for this reason, he manages to offer a turning radius of 4.3 meters. The measures are 3,895 mm long x 1,750 mm wide x 1,512 mm high. For those who need to park it in a box, the width including the side mirrors is 1,752 mm.
The wheelbase is 2.53 with four approved seats and a low-capacity boot: only 171 litres (VDA) which become 861 in the configuration with the rear seat folded down and taking advantage of the load space up to the roof. The car weighs 1,514 kilograms in the entry version and reaches 1,542 kg on the top of the range Advance.
THE ELECTRIC PROJECT OF HONDA
Honda and 2020 is only the beginning of the electrification of the Japanese, a particular car that looks to a specific segment and target and that may seem alien, but in reality, it is supported by more than concrete models: CR-V Hybrid, for example, it surprised me in many aspects and the Honda Jazz hybrid will be interesting because it will bring the technology of the hybrid SUV to the lower segments. By 2022 there will be six electrified models in Europe, all those of volume in the Japanese range.
During 2020, public and home charging solutions for customers will also arrive, as well as customized commercial rates for those who have electricity. In the plans of the Japanese, there is also the V2G, the technology with which the car restores energy to the network.
- Honda Power Charger: solution for home charging, wall box wall-mounted or 7.4 kW pedestal unit with Type 2 connector. It works in alternating current at 32 A after adapting the power used by the meter. Available in Germany and the UK, the system will soon be brought to Italy.
- Ubitricity: Honda has entered into agreements with Ubitricity to create charging points installed in street lamps. Today the idea is being tested in London and Berlin.
- Honda Power Manager Prototype (V2G): a prototype for the study and tests on the Vehicle to Grid created with EVTEC and designed to charge when energy is cheap and transfer it to the grid when the demand is greatest.
- GridShare: with Moixa, Honda has started working in the United Kingdom to make smart the sharing of electricity between the network, cars, homes and companies, using battery-powered vehicles to stabilize the network itself and also automating the sale of the energy stored in the ‘auto when the market demands it at a higher cost. The My Honda + app will help in managing the V2G thanks to the programming of the recharge with the rates in real-time.