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First Look: 2012 Honda Fit EV

Maker sets entry into emerging battery-car market.

by on Nov.18, 2010

Honda will bring out a production version of the Fit EV in 2012, the maker confirmed.

Honda made an appropriately auspicious splash, Wednesday, as it staged its first-ever global preview at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

And, suitably enough, the event marked the debut of the Japanese maker’s new Honda Fit EV Concept, a thinly-disguised version of the battery car it will put into production in 2012, said the automaker’s CEO Takanobu Ito.

Though Honda was the first to bring a hybrid-electric vehicle to the U.S. market, it has been struggling to set a clear course for its future electrification efforts, in part due to its concerns about the viability of lithium-ion battery technology.  But earlier this year, Ito decided Honda could no longer dither and has announced a relatively aggressive program to expand its use of battery power.

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“A change of this scale is not easy for consumers, for the auto industry or for the (electric) infrastructure,” he acknowledged in explanation of Honda’s continuing concerns about battery propulsion.

But the maker has clearly recognized it must move beyond its current mild hybrid technology.  And the production version of the Fit EV – which will begin field testing next year – is only part of Honda’s strategy.