The United States narrowly missed being included in Honda's distribution plans for the new E urban electric car, its project manager has revealed, and if attitudes change, Honda's plans might too.
"The U.S. was included in the beginning," Kohei Hitomi told Jalopnik. "I personally wanted to see it."
But three years ago, he says, that changed, because Honda's higher-ups feared that there would be no demand for an urban electric runabout here in the United States.
Honda has been monitoring the E's worldwide reception and Kohei acknowledged that the response from the U.S. media was surprisingly positive, and he even teased the possibility that Honda could rethink its distribution strategy down the line.
While the U.S. market has been hostile toward smaller EVs, the Honda E manages to strike a chord both with its form and its function, which has been a rare combination among the few urban EVs that have reached America's shores.
Unlike the Fiat 500e and Smart fortwo electric, both of which have flopped, the Honda E retains the full utility of a small hatchback while offering a competitive, 110-mile (estimated EPA) range and 50-kilowatt DC fast charging.
For the time being, it appears that the U.S. will have to continue settling for Honda's slow roll-out of new two-motor hybrid models. The next due stateside is the CR-V Hybrid, which is expected early next year.
Honda's goal is to expand is hybrid lineup to the point where they account for 60 percent of the company's sales volume by 2030.
As for electrics? Honda's plans aren't quite as clear on that front, but we expect that pressure from Volkswagen and others will improve the odds that Honda throws America a bone or two down the line.