Honda revealed on Nov. 18 at the Los Angeles Auto Show its plan for bringing an electric vehicle (EV) to the U.S and Japanese consumer markets in 2012.

The Fit EV is the first of its kind for the company. According to Honda, the new EV concept is integral to the Honda Electric Mobility Network, which is Honda’s comprehensive approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions through innovative products, energy management and energy production technologies.

“Honda’s long history with electromotive technologies has enabled us to understand customer requirements,” said Takanobu Ito, Honda Motor Company president and chief executive officer. “In Honda’s view, an electric vehicle must offer great utility and be fun to drive. 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 2012 Fit EV will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor. The same high-density motor that has already been an integral part of the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle will propel the Fit EV at a top speed of 90 mph.

The Fit EV will have a driving range estimated to be about 100 miles using the EPA’s Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule, more commonly called the LA4 or the city test (70 miles when applying EPA’s adjustment factor). The driving range can be maximized by using a three-mode electric drive system, adapted from the 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid. The system will allow drivers to select between “Econ,” “Normal” and “Sport” settings to instantly change between modes and give drivers the choice between maximizing efficiency and improving acceleration capabilities. For example, in “Econ” mode, driving range can increase as much as 17 percent compared to “Normal.” In “Sport” mode, acceleration and performance is comparable to a vehicle equipped with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, but the driving range is 25 percent less than in “Econ” mode. In addition, the Fit EV has an interactive coaching system to inform drivers of driving habit and excessive air conditioning and accessory usage that may decrease the vehicle’s battery range.

Recharging the Fit EV’s lithium-ion battery takes less than 12 hours when using a conventional 120-volt outlet, and less than six hours when using a 240-volt outlet. When the battery is charging, the driver will be able to stay in control of the Fit EV through a standard connectivity system that can be accessed by a smart phone, personal computer or an innovative interactive remote Honda has designed. The pocket-friendly remote provides access to the vehicle’s controls even without an internet connection or mobile phone signal. Drivers will be able to remotely view the vehicle’s state of charge, initiate charging and activate air conditioning, even while connected to the grid, to reduce the drain on the battery at start-up. In addition, the Fit EV will come equipped with a standard Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System that includes a public charging-station locator capability.

The Fit EV will join Honda’s diverse lineup of environmentally-responsible vehicles, which include the FCX Clarity, the Civic GX compressed natural gas-powered sedan, a new plug-in hybrid sedan and four distinct gasoline-electric hybrid models: Civic hybrid; CR-Z sport hybrid; Insight hybrid and Fit hybrid.

“We have spent the last 13 years introducing various environmental technologies both in concept form and to the mass market,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co, Inc. “Most importantly we are focused on getting them in the hands of real customers.”

Honda Fit EV

Takanobu Ito, Honda Motor Company president and chief executive officer, introduces a new electric vehicle concept, the Fit EV, at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 17. The newly revealed concept is expected to be a first glimpse of the Fit EV to be introduced to the U.S. and Japan consumer markets in 2012. Credit: Honda

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