Mario Takano is an old-fashioned car writer who pursues fun that can only be experienced with internal combustion engine cars such as “MT (manual transmission)”.
While despairing that MT will disappear when the era of electric vehicles arrives in earnest, it is also true that there is a new appeal unique to electric vehicles. Honda’s compact electric car “Honda e” that I got on this time made me realize that.
“Future car” -like design is good
The first thing to notice is the excellence of the design. Electric vehicles that do not require an engine and transmission have a high degree of design freedom, and the front grille is not required to cool the engine, so the front mask is very refreshing. This alone will dramatically improve the “feeling of the car of the future”, so even a quick glance at it without any prior knowledge will tell you that it is an advanced compact car.
The overall width of the body is 1,750mm, which is wider than that of a conventional compact car, but it also has a door mirrorless effect (a side camera is installed at the “mirror” position), so it does not look bloated. Rather, it has the futuristic car-like appearance seen at old motor shows, such as the fact that it has a low air resistance and the flow is outstanding.
Five monitors lined up side by side
The interior is full of special feeling. With the world’s first 5-screen wide-vision instrument panel, it is quite spectacular to see long monitors lined up all over the side of the instrument panel. The texture of each part is at a level that sets it apart from conventional domestic compact cars, and it also gives a special feeling.
Switching between drive “D”, neutral “N”, parking “P”, etc. is all switch operation, and there is no shift lever. And there are many parts where the seating environment is different from the conventional gasoline car, such as the overwhelming refreshing feeling of the foot space, and this also has a great special feeling.
It’s different from the RR of a gasoline car!
When you run it, you can strongly feel the features common to all current electric vehicles, such as “quiet sound”, “extremely thick torque unique to electric motors”, and “low center of gravity due to mounting a heavy battery under the floor”. However, the big point is that Honda e has a layout called “RR”.
Of course, “RR” is not “rear engine / rear drive” but “rear motor / rear drive”, but when you step on the accelerator, the front does not pull but the “rear wheel pushes out”. Really rich. RR’s Honda e is a big attraction because it makes it easier to enjoy the extra-thick torque that is unique to electric vehicles than FF (front-wheel drive) and AWD (four-wheel drive).
Also, in the case of RR of a gasoline car, a special feeling is attractive, such as increasing the traction of the rear wheels by loading a heavy engine in the back, but in the case of Honda e, the motor loaded in the back is heavier than the engine. Since there is no such thing, it has a different feeling from the conventional RR.
The front and rear weight distribution of the car body is just 50:50. Furthermore, since there are no heavy objects such as missions and mufflers, the weight distribution not only in the front and rear but also in the left and right is exactly 50:50, achieving a good balance that is extremely difficult to achieve with an internal combustion engine vehicle. The feeling of pushing the rear wheels, which is unique to RR, and the perfectly even weight balance of the car body and the feeling of touching the ground, give the smoothness of running an unprecedented level of comfort.
Although it is a compact car, the tires have different diameters in the front and rear like RR, so even if the weight distribution is uniform, the grip feeling is quite different in the front and rear, which is also a factor that brings about highly unique handling.
Another pleasure in exchange for manual shifting
Due to the division as a city commuter, the cruising range is short (the actual cruising range is about 200km even if you do your best), so from central Tokyo to Hakone and Mt. Tsukuba! In order to enjoy such a drive, it is necessary to plan the charging place and time firmly, but even on a squeaky road, the light feeling unique to Honda e is very comfortable, and even MT-loving old-fashioned drivers can run to break new ground. You should be satisfied with the fun of. If this newness can be obtained, it can be said that the price of 4 million yen for embarkation is a setting that makes you want to make a last-minute move.
I was impressed that Honda e has new fun and comfort that has never been seen before, in exchange for the fun of manually shifting gears. Still, it is true that Honda e is an electric car for those who like old-fashioned cars, but it is not possible to give up the pleasure of driving a car by manually shifting the internal combustion engine. There is no doubt that it will make you feel the bright future of.
You can also watch the video of this test drive.