Honda Smart Home Previews Grid-Friendly Living and Driving


We all know Honda is adept at making some excellent automobiles. Many people know it does motorcycles, lawn mowers, power generators and even airplanes. But how about houses? If Honda built family homes as well as family cars, would you be interested? What if that house was super energy efficient and could talk to your plug-in electric vehicle to charge it or use the charge stored in it for keeping the lights on?

Related: Volt Versus All: How Does Chevy's Plug-in Hold Up Against the Plug-In Competition?

Honda is not getting into the home-building business anytime soon, but that hasn't stopped the company from building homes just as described above in Davis, Calif. The modern-looking dwellings are part of a research project with the University of California at Davis to come up with new, practical technologies aimed at improving energy efficiency.

By Aaron Bragman | August 4, 2014 | Comments (2)

More Electric Cars Than Ever, Still Not Available Everywhere

Where the electric cars are

As more manufacturers introduce electric cars, these battery-powered vehicles are becoming something people see on the road every day. At least in some parts of the country, they are.

More Alternative Fuel News

The number of purely electric vehicles offered in the U.S. will grow to a dozen by the end of this year. Many of those EVs are available only in a small number of states, however, with California being the epicenter of electric-car sales.

By Rick Popely | March 11, 2014 | Comments (4)

Honda Cuts Price on Fit EV

Honda's subcompact electric vehicle is on sale. Starting June 1, the automaker will offer a $259-a-month lease on the Fit EV; that's a decrease from $389 a month.

The new three-year lease offer is good for current and new Fit EV customers, and includes some pretty nice perks: no down payment, unlimited mileage, free routine maintenance, collision coverage and a Leviton 240-volt home charging station. Honda says a full charge on a 240-volt charger takes only three hours.

By Jennifer Geiger | May 30, 2013 | Comments (0)

Plug-in Cars: Where Can You Buy Them?


Thursday’s pricing announcement for the Chevrolet Spark EV likely piqued some interest on the West Coast, but chances are few others gave it much attention. GM will sell the all-electric hatchback only in California and Oregon; the automaker has announced no plans to sell it elsewhere, spokesman Kevin Kelly told us.

Where can EV fans find their cars? We tallied up the states.

No surprise: Californians get the biggest slice of the EV pie. Thank the state's zero-emissions vehicle mandate, which requires automakers to sell a certain percentage of zero-emissions vehicles, explained Ed Kim, AutoPacific's vice president of industry analysis. Nearby Washington state has adopted California's emissions requirements but not the ZEV quota, and states such as Oregon and a number along the East Coast have adopted both.

The emissions requirement should eventually align with the federal government's 2025 corporate average fuel economy requirements. But it still means "a plug-in car sold in Oregon counts towards California’s required ZEV volume for the automaker that makes that vehicle," Kim wrote in an email. "It’s not a natural consumer market for such vehicles, but rather a market legislated into existence."

By Kelsey Mays | May 24, 2013 | Comments (1)

Prius Plug-In Quietly Ranks No. 2


The much-ballyhooed sales figures for the Chevrolet Volt hide another green-car success: the Toyota Prius Plug-In. Toyota's rechargeable hybrid hummed along with 1,652 sales in September, and it's only available in 15 coastal states. You won’t be able to buy it in the rest of the U.S. until next year.

That hasn't stopped the Prius Plug-In with 7,734 sales so far this year from earning a comfortable second place between the Volt and the Nissan Leaf. The Prius Plug-In has been on sale since last fall and spent much of the following spring among the fastest-selling cars in America. In some months, it even outpaced the first-place Volt, which spent much of this year facing more politicization than Joe the Plumber.

GM fought back, discounting Volt leases to as little as $269 a month for three years with roughly $2,800 down — leading some experts to argue it's better to lease a Volt than buy it. Is it bad business for GM? Perhaps, as the 2013 Volt now leases for $299 a month. Toyota undercuts that today with leases as low as $269 in some areas on the 2012 Prius Plug-In if you pony up as much as $3,599 at signing. Pay up to $459 a month and you can walk away with a Prius Plug-In in some areas with no money down.

By Kelsey Mays | October 9, 2012 | Comments (3)

HondaLink Multimedia System to Debut in 2013 Fit EV, Accord and Crosstour


Honda announced a new multimedia system called HondaLink, which will debut in the 2013 Fit EV, the still-unrevealed redesigned Accord and the updated Crosstour this fall. Additional Honda (and likely Acura) models will get it down the road. Like Toyota's Entune or Ford's Sync AppLink, HondaLink allows you to stream various smartphone applications through the stereo via voice prompts, touch-screen stereo commands or steering-wheel buttons.

It's not yet clear how Honda plans to differentiate HondaLink from Entune, AppLink and others. The automaker is working with internet radio provider Aha to stream Facebook and Twitter feeds, news updates and Yelp listings. Lest Honda run afoul of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's latest distracted-driving guidelines, Honda engineer David Kirsch told reporters on a conference call that the system is "showing things that are needed for you to see, but just enough."

By Kelsey Mays | July 19, 2012 | Comments (1)

Honda Makes Backup Cameras Standard on Most Models

Honda CR-V camera

Starting with the 2013 model year, a backup camera will be standard on the redesigned Honda Accord along with the Crosstour, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline and CR-Z. That means Honda's 12-model lineup goes from having just two models with a standard backup camera — the FCX Clarity hydrogen vehicle and the CR-V crossover — to nine models. A backup camera was already standard on the 2012 Honda CR-V and remains that way for the 2013 model year. The 2013 Honda Fit EV also has a standard backup camera.

That's a drastic change for Honda; previously, backup cameras were an option that had to be coupled with an expensive navigation system. In fact, the update means Honda offers a backup camera on more of its lineup than any other mainstream automaker – other strong contenders include Kia and Hyundai.

By Colin Bird | July 17, 2012 | Comments (9)

Today's Electric Cars Could Sell for Less Tomorrow


When Nissan began taking reservations for the Leaf all-electric car in April 2010, Greg Tyler was among the first to plop down the $99 fee. Nineteen months later, the 59-year-old college professor was handed the keys.

"The Leaf was the most reasonably priced mass-market vehicle available," said Tyler, of upstate New York, who calls himself "very satisfied" with his purchase.

Tyler is an early adopter, the sort of shopper that's essential to any company with high-tech products. But early adopters face the inevitability of next-gen products doing more and costing less. It happens with consumer electronics all too often. Remember Apple's iPhone 3GS? It used to run at least $199 with a cellphone contract. Two iPhone generations later, the 3GS is free with a contract.

It's a small disappointment for consumer electronics shoppers, whose old gadgets end up as often in storage as they do on Craigslist. But resale value is serious business for car shoppers — and as fast as you can say "electric vehicle," advancements have already rolled out.

By Kelsey Mays | July 9, 2012 | Comments (3)

2013 Honda Fit EV EPA Rated at 118 MPGe

Honda fit ev 2
The 2013 Honda Fit EV is setting EPA records: Its 118 mile per gallon equivalency (MPGe) is the highest rating ever given by the EPA, according to the automaker.

The all-electric version of Honda's subcompact hatchback is powered by a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and a 92-kilowatt electric motor for a combined 123 horsepower. The EPA also gave it a combined city/highway estimated driving range of 82 miles, besting its EV competitors: The Ford Focus Electric is rated at 105 MPGe with a 76-mile range; the Nissan Leaf is rated at at 99 MPGe with a 73-mile range; and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is rated at 112 MPGe with a 62-mile range.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 6, 2012 | Comments (3)

First Honda Fit EV Enters the U.S. Market

Honda Fit EV

Staying true to its quick-product-launch plan, Honda unveiled the 2013 Honda Fit EV at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show and has already delivered its first production version of the model.

The lucky owner is the municipality of Torrance, Calif., also home to Honda's U.S. headquarters. Technically, the first Fit EV is part of a test program to get real-world feedback before the model's official on-sale date this summer.

The 2013 Honda Fit EV is an all-electric vehicle that's solely focused on poaching potential Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i and Ford Focus EV customers.

Like the Focus EV, the Fit EV is based on its gas-powered cousin, but there are subtle styling changes (such as the absence of a front grille vent) that distinguish the model.

The Fit EV has an average expected range of 76 miles and can get a full charge in as little as three hours on a 240-volt charger.

By Colin Bird | January 23, 2012 | Comments (1)

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