This could be the cutest and most appealing machine created so far in the electric revolution.
Honda’s E is small but perfectly formed at a parking space-friendly 3.9 metres long.
That makes it the ideal vehicle for city use. As does another feature of the car.
Because it’s short there is not a huge amount of room for batteries, so Honda has fitted the E with a 35.5kWh one which gives it a maximum range of 137 miles if it’s fitted with 16ins wheels – or 125 miles if it has 17ins wheels.
The little Honda comes in two versions, the standard car with a 134bhp electric motor and the Honda E Advance with 151bhp.
Both have the same range and can be charged at up to 100kW using a DC fast charger that will take the batteries from 0-80% in 30 minutes. The more common 50kW rapid chargers will recharge the car’s batteries in 31 minutes.
We drove the Honda on very wet roads with the windscreen wipers permanently on and the blower going to stop the windows from steaming up.
This had a catastrophic effect on our car’s range, cutting it to well under 100 miles. Honda is aiming the E at city users and apparently most of the 200 advance orders for the car are from buyers who live in London – probably people who already own several cars that can be used for longer journeys.
That demographic also reflects the fact that the Honda is not a cheap car. Our Advance version costs £28,660 after the grant and the standard car is £26,610. A lot of money for a small motor – but then this Honda is very easy to fall for.
Step inside and you’ll see a pretty amazing interior. If you like digital screens you’ve got an array in the Honda that wouldn’t disgrace Currys’ front window.
Screens run the whole length of the dashboard and include two 12in displays.
What’s clever and very useful is that you can swap functions from screen to screen. For example, if you’re busy driving you can whizz the navigation screen over to your passenger so he or she can enter an address or even give you instructions.
At the outermost edges of this panorama are two small screens that display images from the two video cameras that take the place of door mirrors on the Honda E.
Audi uses the same set-up on its e-tron SUV but they’re nothing like as effective as the ones on this Honda.
There’s adequate room in the front of the Honda but it’ll be a squeeze for adults in the back. Again, not such a problem in a car that’ll be doing short journeys.
Because the electric motor is in the back and drives the rear wheels there’s not a huge boot, only 171 litres with the rear seats in place.
While the E isn’t sporty to drive it feels very well balanced and rides bumps well. It’ll do 0-62mph in 8.3sec but the instant torque makes it feel nippier than that.
What’s far more useful for a city car is the Honda’s admirably tight 8.6 metre kerb-to-kerb turning circle.
The Honda E is great looking but its limited range and high price is going to make it a rare sight on our roads.
It’s a car that’s easy to love but Volkswagen’s e-Up – that costs £6,000 less yet has a longer range – is a much more logical buy.
Honda E Advance five-door hatchback
Price: £28,660 (includes PICG)
Engine: Electric motor, 151bhp
Range: 137 miles
Peugeot e-208 GT
A 211-mile range and great styling in this top-level version.
Renault Zoe i Play
The new Zoe’s 50kWh battery gives it much greater range than the Honda.
A less emotional but better choice.
A range of 188 miles and interesting styling inside and out.
Common on London streets and the Honda’s closest rival.