This week began with an electric bang as we got to test drive the brand new fully-electric car from Honda. Their new offering, simply named ‘Honda e’ was born from their prediction;
Honda predicts that by 2030 the development of automobiles will be centred around three-pillars of electrification, automation and connected services. Environmental issues, such as climate change, are driving demand for cleaner mobility and accelerating the electrification of the wider automotive industry.
As a result, they have created a car with increased connectivity between the car and the driver including their everyday electronic devices, and ultimately the drivers’ lifestyle. It also has the bonus of helping the environment, particularly in built-up urban spaces.
The first thing we noticed as we got into the car was the wing “mirrors” inside the car. In fact, they are not mirrors at all but cameras (called Side Camera Mirror System), similar to what you expect to see in a rear-view camera. This not only gives you better visibility but creates a clean, aerodynamic exterior.
The technology then only just gets started; with Honda’s Personal Assistant, the artificial intelligence develops a greater understanding of the driver’s voice over time, helping it to deliver more accurate responses, connecting car and driver to modern life with ease. Advanced technologies designed to simplify the driver’s experience include the digital key, which enables secure access to the car via a smartphone, and the seamless entry system that ensures the Honda e is unlocked, connected and ready to go whenever the driver approaches the car.
The dashboard is packed with tech goodness too. Positioned within the driver’s eyeline for optimal comfort and safety, it has five neatly integrated high-resolution colour screens which span the entire width of the car’s interior, with the Side Camera Mirror System screens ergonomically placed at either end.
The largest area of the next-generation digital dashboard is occupied by dual 12.3-inch LCD touchscreens. These are the primary infotainment displays, giving access to a range of intelligent applications and services. This sophisticated interface is highly intuitive and customisable, with applications positioned side-by-side, and configured using familiar, intuitive smartphone-style pinch and swipe controls.
Both the front seat passenger and driver can easily access their favourite or most-used apps, configured using six digital presets flanking the screens. Users can also swipe through recently used applications in the app history display, which helps to avoid excessive menu navigation for easy multi-tasking and quick function location and activation.
Favourite apps or functions can also be easily exchanged between the two screens, either by flicking (fast swiping) them across from edge menu presets, or by swapping screens, via an option button always displayed on the HMI. This function also allows the passenger to swipe content such as navigation instructions into the driver’s eye line. With the dual-screen set-up allowing two applications to be displayed side-by-side, the driver and front passenger can also independently select and view separate apps. For example, while the driver follows navigation instructions, the front passenger can scroll through the ‘Visual Playlist’ to locate their preferred music choices.
The comprehensive suite of in-built apps can be supplemented by seamless smartphone mirroring, via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. These systems enable users to view social media, music and other internet services on the dual touchscreens.
Backgrounds can be personalised, either through a range of built-in options or uploading user-generated content. The screens even provide a welcome message for the driver when they enter the car.
When the vehicle is parked – including when charging – occupants can access ‘My Room’ screen functions using the Honda e’s Wi-Fi hotspot, shifting the car beyond simply being a means of transport. Users can watch video content and access the internet on their own mobile devices or, to elevate the lounge-like experience further, recreate the classic ‘drive-in movie’ experience by accessing content streaming services via the HDMI input in the centre console.
At the heart of the immersive acoustics is the cinematic sound system, which provides a vivid, rich audio accompaniment. The Honda e comes with a six-speaker 180-watt sound system, while the Honda e Advance receives an upgraded 376-watt premium audio system, with an external amp, 75-watt subwoofer located under the rear seat, and 45-watt centre speaker added as one of eight speakers for additional sound depth.
Honda describes the design of the E as modern and sleek. Indeed, on first impressions, it certainly looked modern but perhaps more “compact” than sleek. However, once driving the power behind the wheel (particularly in Sport Mode) really changed perceptions and you forgot you were driving such a compact vehicle. Everything is high-spec for the class; LED lighting, wooden trim and glass charging port cover which really adds to the overall design and feel of the car.
Overall this car is the best fully electric car we have tested and although the price tag might be a little hard to swallow, if you can afford it it is certainly worth it.
There are tonnes more features such as WIFI, parking sensors, flush door handles and 16 or 17-inch alloys. For more info visit: https://www.honda.co.uk/cars/new/honda-e/overview.html