2020 Honda e: range, charging, specs and pictures

The pure-electric Honda e city car is to start from £26,160, or £299 per month – after the government grant has been deducted

The all-new Honda e pure-electric city car will start from £26,160 for the entry-level 134bhp model, or £28,660 for the higher-spec 152bhp Honda e Advance, after the government grant has been deducted. Monthly finance packages are set to start from £299, with the higher-spec model costing a further £50 per month, assuming a £6,000 deposit on a 37-month PCP contract. 

Deliveries of the Honda e Advance are expected to start at the beginning of next year, with the base model arriving later in 2020. Complete with a 35.5kWh battery that delivers a range of up to 136 miles (likely to be 125 miles in the more powerful Honda e Advance), the Honda e is a direct rival to the MINI Electric despite its less conventional rear-wheel-drive layout. 

Don't expect a longer-range model any time soon, though. Takahiro Shinya, assistant large project manager for the Honda e, told DrivingElectric that "it’s not possible to get more batteries or more range into the e with battery technology as it is".
 

The Honda e Advance is available to order now, and gets upgraded audio, a rear-view mirror that also doubles up as a reversing camera, and a semi-autonomous parking mode. The more affordable Honda e will open for orders in early 2020, and while it does without those additional features, it still gets the full bank of touchscreens dominating the cabin, as well as the ‘virtual mirror’ camera system that replaces conventional side mirrors. 

The city car is compatible with Type 2 and CCS chargers, with the port hidden under the black panel on its bonnet. It can charge at rates of up to 100kW, so an 80% top-up will take around 30 minutes from a rapid charger while a 7kW home wallbox will fully replenish the battery in five hours. Honda says LED lights indicating the car's state of charge will be visible through a glass panel, with graphics also displaying information on screens inside. 

Meanwhile, the brand has also confirmed that the e will use four-wheel independent suspension, with 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity designed to make the car agile on urban roads. The Honda e will make its UK debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Rear-view cameras have been confirmed as a standard feature on the Honda e, in place of conventional door mirrors. Reducing drag by 3.8% – and therefore boosting the car's efficiency, range and quietness on the road – the cameras feed their footage into a pair of six-inch monitors that bookend the dashboard.

Drivers will be able to choose between 'normal view' and 'wide view' modes, increasing visibility by 10% and 50% respectively compared to normal mirrors, according to Honda. The company says it has tested the system extensively to ensure it works in all conditions. The shape of the camera unit is designed to stop droplets forming on the lens, with a water-repellent coating helping to prevent a build-up of dirt.

The brightness of the display adjusts automatically, and in reverse gear, guidelines are overlaid on the screens to help drivers navigate tricky parking manoeuvres. Reservations for the Honda e opened in the middle of May, with UK customers providing a deposit of £800, despite the full price of the vehicle remaining under wraps. Deliveries of the firm's first electric car will begin early next year.

The car will launch with a choice of five colours: Platinum White Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Crystal Blue Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic and Charge Yellow (see gallery, above).

The e – the production version of the Honda e Prototype – was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March. So far, the company says it has received 31,000 expressions of interest in the car, with 9,000 of those coming from UK customers.

The e has been built on Honda’s new platform for electric cars, with a single electric motor driving the rear wheels. It'll be 3,895mm long, 1,750mm wide and 1,495mm tall, making it smaller than rivals like the BMW i3 and Renault ZOE. As such, it'll only seat four people, however a full-length bench in the rear will afford enough space for two full-sized, adult passengers.

It won’t be a budget vehicle. Speaking to our sister title Auto Express, the e’s project leader Kohei Hitomi said the car going on sale later this year will not be “a low-cost product”. He explained: “Look at the iPhone: they are not cheap products but still everybody wants it.”

The Honda e will spearhead a range of electric cars in the pipeline from the Japanese manufacturer, which hopes two-thirds of its cars will feature electric or hybrid powertrains by 2025.

 

Honda e design

The look of the Urban EV concept generated a lot of interest when it made its debut in 2017, and it’s easy to see why. It managed to mix the retro looks of the 1970s Honda Civic outside with a cutting-edge, minimalist interior dominated by a digital screen running the full width of the dashboard.

There were also plenty of details on the car that previewed the direction Honda design will take in the future. For example, the backlit blue logo will appear on all of Honda’s electric cars, while the display between the headlights shows charging status when it’s plugged in.

The most noticeable difference between the Urban EV and the e Prototype was that the former's three-door design has been ditched in favour of a more practical five-door body. Meanwhile, the nose and pillars have been made bulkier to add strength for safety.

Interior

There are several developments from 2017’s concept car: while the long, digital screen remains, it has been split into sections across the length of the dashboard. Two 12.3-inch screens sit in the middle, giving access to the car’s range of apps and other functions. The left screen controls the sat nav, vehicle settings and a ‘Personal Assistant’ feature, while the right portion houses DAB radio and charging information.

The conventional instrument display has been replaced with a digital readout behind the steering wheel, although the Japanese carmaker has resisted the temptation to digitise everything: buttons for voice control, cruise control and volume adjustment can been seen on the steering wheel, in addition to a camera button on the right stalk.

The Honda e will also introduce a new level of voice-recognition technology for the brand. The Honda Personal Assistant is activated by saying 'Okay, Honda' followed by a command. As with similar systems such as that in the latest Mercedes models, Honda’s voice-control system learns an individual’s voice and accent over time.

Honda e owners will also have use of the 'My Honda+' smartphone app, which allows remote control of charging and climate control, as well as location monitoring, advanced navigation functions and more. You can even turn your phone into the key, as you can with the Tesla Model 3.

Traditional climate-control dials are found on the centre console, and Honda has added a number of buttons to the wooden trim above the vents. Two 230V power outlets and one 12V outlet feature as well, as do a pair of USB sockets and a single HDMI port. 

Honda says the infotainment system features a “clean design” and “intuitive technology”, representing a break from the systems used on its current range.