Why Honda will end Fit EV production in 2014
As reported in January by Torque News, Honda entered the plug-in EV market very cautiously and possibly reluctantly. Our friends at Green Car Reports shed a tear as Honda announces the early fall fulfillment of a very small (1100) car Fit EV production run.
A. Ingram of Green Car Reports ties Honda’s limited production run to California’s pending CARB emission requirements.
The truth of the matter.
Honda is the world’s largest internal combustion engine manufacturer by volume. Note the word combustion. Although the company does hold an “Earth Dreams” philosophy very near to its corporate heart, Honda, like G.M. and others, has cautiously approached the world of electric vehicle manufacturing; marketing and subsequent (very limited) sales. Although Honda Motor Co. does hold the engineering capacity and facility to tinker with EV development, Honda is not a “dedicated” EV manufacturer, ( yet.)
Yes, Honda has been at the forefront of FCEV development, and currently sells the most fuel efficient ( mass produced) gasoline electric hybrid in Asia. And, the most fuel efficient midsize sedan in North America.
Another Words, Honda has chosen what market research would indicate to be a path of greater viability for a broader market demographic.
Electric vehicles are and will remain a niche market; with expansion of that market contingent on the development of a universally available and affordable long-lasting battery or energy storage component.
There further lies 3 greater obstacles to the timely expansion of electric powered personal transportation vehicles.
Government subsidy, personal perception and reasoning.
1. As long as government, *State and Federal, enables automotive manufactures to inflate the purchase and, or “based” lease price through tax and other subsidies, electric vehicles will remain expensive and financially out of reach for the majority of prospective buyers.
The availability of these corporate lend-lease vehicles is restricted to prospective lessee’s with “ tier-1 credit.
While income tax-tied rebates do benefit those in specific tax brackets, the majority of today’s manufactured EVs come off- the- line priced well above the affordability threshold of “real world” economy survivalist.
2. There remains a propaganda instilled ( Big 3) fear of “early battery death” for many would be EV buyers.
While they love the idea of zero emissions and the quiet torque provided by an electric drive, the estimated time-line and associated cost of replacing an EV’s battery array proves to be daunting if not financially debilitating.
3. “ Miles between charge” continues to be a major concern for most would-be EV buyers.
While it’s true that most of us drive fewer than 60 miles per day, very few of us have the option or the financial capacity( wallet) to dedicate an EV or any other vehicle to that very limited purpose.
Personal perception: limitations of the relatively short “miles between charge” range of anything less than a Tesla S keeps most pending buyers out of the EV game.
In closing: Honda entered the North American auto market back in 1972 with the introduction of the Civic. 2013 found the Japanese owned international auto manufacturer unseating # 1 Toyota in several U.S. automotive categories.
While Honda will undoubtedly continue to research and develop viable personal and commercial EV’s as demonstrated here, we look to Honda’s continued groundbreaking development of the gasoline, electric hybrid as demonstrated by the Accord, Civic, CR-V, CR-Z, pending 2015 Fit and Vezel.
* California CARB regulations 2017-2025.