While Nissan dove head first, sink-or-swim, into the EV waters with its Leaf in late 2010, Honda has demonstrated it prefers to dip its toes in first, then perhaps its calves, and while the water may still be chilly, it is getting in deeper with its Fit EV.
First launched in California and Oregon in July 2012 for a three-year lease only, the still three-year lease-only Fit EV was launched to select East Coast markets in February, and now Honda has cut the “no down payment” lease rate from $389 per month to $259.
This deal on the most-efficient EV rated by the EPA is effective June 1 and includes a 240-volt level-two home charging unit. This lease price is based on a vehicle with an MSRP of $36,625.
“The new reduced lease price and unlimited mileage term also will be applied to existing Fit EV customer leases going forward starting in June 2013,” said Honda in a statement of the new terms. “With the reduced payment, unlimited mileage, maintenance and collision coverage, this new lease program makes the Fit EV one of the most affordable electric vehicles available in the U.S.”
What’s more, the Fit EV’s availability will increase from a yet-limited dealer network in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut from 36 dealers to more than 200 by the end of June.
“The Fit EV already is a benchmark electric vehicle with a leading-range rating, fun-to-drive dynamics and excellent packaging,” said Steve Center, vice president of Environmental Business Development at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Now it’s the only EV on the market with no down payment, unlimited mileage, collision coverage and a free home charging station, giving customers an unprecedented value that only Honda can provide and a compelling reason to get off the barrel and onto the grid.”
Honda’s price cut is unlikely because of charitable intentions, or to help foster the EV movement, however. In April, the HybridCars.com Dashboard indicates the Japanese automaker moved just 22 units. For the same month, Nissan delivered its second-best number of Leafs since its December 2010 launch, with a total of 1,937. On paper, Honda does make a case for itself, and now we shall see whether the pencil sharpening exercise will yield results more to its liking.
In its favor, the Fit EV offers competitive efficiency compared to the aforementioned 115 MPGe (combined) Nissan Leaf, and boasts 118 MPGe and 82 miles EPA-rated driving range versus the Leaf’s 75.
Honda has also partnered with SolarCity to install solar power with no upfront cost, allowing Fit customers to recharge their vehicle with clean, affordable power from the sun.