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2013  Honda Fit EV Hatchback

2013  Honda Fit EV Hatchback

2013  Honda Fit EV Hatchback

2013  Honda Fit EV Hatchback

2013 Honda Fit EV Hatchback - FROM $

The 2013 Honda Fit EV eliminates gasoline from its requirements, further improving its reputation as a subcompact that's fun to drive.

2013  Honda Fit EV Hatchback

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Honda Fit EV is an all-new model.

Introduction

The Honda Fit is already a great car thanks to its flexible interior configurations and space-efficient design. For the 2013 model year, the Fit gets even better and allows you to whiz around the city on electrons alone.

The fully electric 2013 Honda Fit EV doesn't look much different from its gas-powered counterpart. It's a different story under the hood, of course. An electric motor rated at 123 horsepower and a lithium-ion battery pack power the Fit EV, delivering an estimated range of 82 miles on a full charge.

The electric motor, derived from the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell prototype, gives the Fit EV quick-ish acceleration from a stop. In Edmunds performance testing, we clocked it from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds in Sport mode (one of three available modes). That's hardly blazing, but it makes the Fit EV one of the quicker subcompacts around -- quicker than a Chevrolet Sonic with its turbocharged engine, and more than a full second faster than the rival Nissan Leaf.

In our initial test-drive, we found the Fit perfectly capable of merging and keeping up with highway traffic in its default Normal driving mode. A third mode, Econ, can boost efficiency by 17 percent provided you're willing to sacrifice horsepower, fight against the strict throttle programming and endure limited air-conditioning performance.

Although spirited dashes in Sport mode are tempting, reining in that electric momentum is another story. In Edmunds braking tests, the Fit EV required 140 feet to stop from 60 mph -- well longer than the subcompact class average and 14 feet longer than the Leaf.

Honda says advanced chemistry helps the Fit EV's battery pack handle a higher charging load, and requires only three hours to recharge a depleted Fit EV using a standard 240-volt charger. The Nissan Leaf, by comparison, requires 7 hours. On a typical home garage 120-volt circuit, however, the Fit EV requires 15 hours of charge time.

A remote on the key fob can initiate charging, monitor progress and even turn on the A/C from 100 feet away. The available Honda Link EV smartphone app can do all that, as well as other neat tricks like locate charging stations and set charging times that optimize utility rates.

Compared to the standard Fit model, the Fit EV required some reconfiguration to accommodate its battery pack. Rear seat passengers sit slightly higher and an additional 3.3 inches farther back, and the regular Fit's fully flat-folding Magic Seat didn't survive the transition. Cargo room also suffers a bit, down to just 12 cubic feet behind the rear seats (from 20.6 cubic feet). There's still nearly 50 cubic feet available with the 60/40-split seat folded, although the load floor is no longer flat.

On the upside, the Fit EV stands a little higher and rides on a beefed-up suspension that actually provides better ride quality than the gas counterpart. The Fit EV is offered in only one trim level, which includes a navigation system and rearview camera as standard features.

With the Fit EV, Honda joins a small rank of manufacturers with a dedicated e-car. Your most obvious choices in this segment will be the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus BEV and the Mitsubishi i.

The only catch? You can only lease the Fit EV for $389 per month for 36 months, and only if you live in or near the Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; Sacramento, California; or Los Angeles metro areas. Honda says it plans to expand into the Northeast and greater Washington, D.C. area next spring, and explains that the lease-only agreement keeps the price competitive -- buying a Fit EV would cost about $38,000 -- and also limits Honda's battery warranty obligation to the duration of the lease.

The Fit EV arrives at dealers in July. Check back later for a full review of the 2013 Honda Fit EV as more information becomes available.