Following years of claims they weren't interested in developing a battery-electric vehicle, Honda backtracked earlier this year and decided that they would produce one, with the 2012 Honda Fit EV concept finally revealed at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show last month.
Now, Honda has announced that they are using lithium-ion batteries made by Toshiba Corp. in a test version of the Fit EV.
Honda has an existing deal with Toshiba, purchasing batteries for an electric scooter (the Japanese market EV-neo), so the supply deal will expand on this. Unusually, Toshiba doesn't supply the batteries used in the various hybrid models Honda produces. These batteries are supplied by GS Yuasa Corp. in Kyoto, but Toshiba's packs may be more suitable for the higher power usage in a pure EV.
Honda has launched their Electric Vehicle Demonstration program, comprising an electric Fit and a plug-in hybrid version of the Accord. The 2012 Fit EV will join the upcoming hybrid version and offer consumers a Honda-badged choice in the increasingly competitive EV market.
The Fit's Toshiba batteries (in the test car, at least) will be powering a high density electric motor derived from the unit found in Honda's fuel cell FCX Clarity, and offers a top speed of 90 miles per hour. Recharging time should be less than 12 hours using a conventional 120-volt outlet, and less than six through a level 2, 240-volt charger. Honda claims range is more than 100 miles, potentially more than vehicles like the 2011 Nissan LEAF. These figures are based on Japanese testing methods, rather than the EPA tests subjected to cars like the LEAF, so as always, final figures may vary.
Adding to the technology borrowed from other Honda eco-models, the Fit will use the hybrid CR-Z's three-mode driving system, allowing drivers to choose between Econ, Normal and Sport modes depending on the conditions.
Honda hasn't confirmed whether the Toshiba batteries will find their way into the production Fit EV, and indeed the company also have several other deals with battery suppliers, including Panasonic and Sanyo as well as GS Yuasa. Honda hopes to sell batteries made by Blue Energy Co. in a venture with GS Yuasa to other carmakers to help lower costs.
No announcement has been made as to when sales of the Fit EV will begin, nor any hint at a price, but testing of the initial vehicles will begin in 2011.
[Honda via Bloomberg]