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Honda Planning Fit-Based Electric Car in Partnership with Chinese Firm

Six years after first developing an electric version of its small Fit model, an attempt that ended in commercial failure, Honda is working with large Chinese battery manufacturer CATL to produce a new electric car based on the Fit.

The CATL group will also be working on developing related technologies that will serve the new model. This is according to a report by Japanese newspaper The Nikkei, which confirms that the vehicle will be make its debut in 2020 on the Chinese market, and likely elsewhere though without specifying where. That is a big question that remains unanswered, but given the movement toward electric mobility, it’s hard to imagine that Honda would neglect the North American market after developing such a vehicle.

On the other hand, we’ve seen the automaker make other unexpected decisions in the past, so we’ll have to wait and see.

According to the report in The Nikkei, the model should get a range of around 300 km, placing it between the electric Hyundai Kona (200 km) and the Chevrolet Bolt (383).

Pricing for the as-yet-unnamed electric model would start at about $18,000 USD, the equivalent of some $25,000 CAD. Honda’s goal is to sell 100,000 units of the model per year, making it the company’s biggest-selling all-electric model. Honda currently offers a fully electric variant of the Clarity in some markets.

If you’re wondering about Honda’s choice of China as the initial market – and main target – for the model, the answer is actually quite simple. More electric cars are sold there than in any other market around the globe, and the government offers incentives in the case of models whose batteries are manufactured locally. And CATL is, as we mentioned, Chinese-owned.

CATL could become the automotive industry’s biggest supplier of batteries at some point in the next year.

We’ll be keeping an eye on upcoming auto shows to see where the new Fit-based electric car first lands...

2012 Honda Fit EV
Photo: Honda
2012 Honda Fit EV