While some rivals have been introducing larger batteries to give 250+ mile ranges, Honda has taken a different approach. To keep the cost and weight of the e low, it has kept the power pack small and found what it thinks is a perfectly adequate range of 137 miles – or a 125 if you choose the bigger, bling wheels. That seems like a bit of a disappointment when cars like the Renault Zoe can go almost twice as far between charges, but, in reality, it will be perfectly adequate for drivers who drive the national average of 20 miles a day. The Honda also has built-in heating and cooling, so the range should be less affected by extreme weather.
It’s difficult not to be disappointed by the on-paper figures of the Honda e’s battery. At just 35.5kWh it’s pretty small by the standards of rivals such as the 52kWh Renault Zoe and even the entry-level Nissan Leaf’s 40kWh. A Kia Soul EV has a whopping 64kWh. On the plus side, it means the e is lighter than rivals, and the battery is pretty sophisticated to ensure it makes the most of its size, including automatic heating and cooling to make sure it’s always operating at the most efficient temperature. Like most EVs, the pack is mounted under the floor to keep it safe and the centre of gravity low.
The Honda might not have the biggest battery, but it is easy and quick to charge. While some rivals are limited to 50kW rapid charging and the Renault Zoe doesn’t even have a DC charge as standard, the little Honda will take a supply from one of the new 100kW chargers via a CCS connector. So why the small battery might mean you’ll need to stop for a charge break on a longer journey, the good news is that it could take on an 20- 80% top-up in 20 minutes. That’s barely time for your coffee to get cold.