Honda plans to have the Fit EV in production in 2012.
Honda will roll out a pair of new prototypes at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show meant to underscore the maker’s new commitment to battery propulsion. Until recently, the automaker was earning a reputation for recalcitrance, dismissing lithium-ion technology in favor of older, more limited hybrids and hydrogen power.
The star of the Honda stand at the PALExpo convention center will likely be a prototype Honda Fit EV, which the maker intends to bring to market in 2012 – and use to directly challenge its Japanese rival, Nissan, which recently launched the Leaf, the world’s first mass-production battery-electric vehicle.
“The Honda EV Concept hints strongly at the direction and styling for Honda’s upcoming production battery electric vehicle, the Fit EV, which will be introduced to the U.S. and Japan in 2012,” said a statement from the Japanese maker, which referred to the battery car as intended “to meet the daily driving needs of the average metropolitan commuter.”
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Honda has long dismissed lithium-ion technology as limited in application and too costly for the mass market. Instead, the maker has steadfastly stuck with its “mild hybrid” IMA drivetrain, which relies on less powerful but well-tested nickel-metal hydride batteries. Longer-term, Honda has contended that the future is in hydrogen power – as used in the fuel-cell-powered Honda FCX Clarity.