But there’s more to the Honda e than good looks – there has to be. Not every Honda had been good to drive or fun, but the Civic Type R and both the new and old NSX are proof enough Honda knows how, and cares to, build a decent motor vehicle. To create the Honda e and place no emphasis on driving dynamics would be like a world famous decorator painting the hallway of a stately home with a paintball gun.
Some key information. The Honda e is rear-wheel-drive, has a 50:50 weight distribution, and a similar centre of gravity to the current NSX. It all sounds good, doesn’t it?
The 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery sits underneath the floor, while the motor sits between the two rear wheels. There are two models to choose from, the Honda e and the Honda e Advance. Both have 315Nm (233lb ft) of torque from 0rpm, but where the standard car has 136PS (100kW) the Advance has 154PS (113kW).
So is the Honda e an S2000? No, it isn’t, but is that really what you were expecting? It is still, however, mighty good fun. There’s no getting away from the weight of all the electric gubbins – the Honda e weighs, at its lightest, 1,514kg – but, on the move, you’re very aware that all of that weight is very low down in the car. The weight feels concentrated, and better managed because of it in a way a similarly heavy petrol or diesel car probably wouldn’t.
The suspension absorbs bumps confidently and the variable-ratio steering is nicely weighted and gives the front of the car a real eagerness. As for the brake pedal, it’s surprisingly easy to read – if you chose to use it. As the Honda e makes use of regenerative braking, Honda has created the Single Pedal Control System. Put simply, you can use paddles behind the steering wheel to decide how much energy is captured through the regenerative system, allowing you to drive, for the most part, without using the brake pedal.
Acceleration is brisk but not Tesla Model 3 levels of exciting. But comparing every new electric car to a Tesla of one form or another is probably the wrong way of quantifying performance. As the Honda e’s torque is available from 0rpm, accelerating away at a set of lights is a bit of a laugh, far more so than in a similarly powered petrol or diesel. Zero to 62mph takes 9.0 seconds for the standard Honda e and 8.3 seconds for the Advance.
As for range, it varies from 137 miles for the standard Honda e and 125 miles for the Advance with 17-inch wheels. You can get to 80 per cent battery charge in 30 minutes with a rapid charger, whereas you’ll need 18.8 hours to get 100 per cent with a standard plug at home. Let’s face it, 125 miles is probably plenty enough for the majority of journeys, and if you want more range you aren’t interested in buying an electric car right now.