It’s a classic case of good things come to those who wait as Honda finally flicked the switch on electrification with the unveiling of the hippest, funkiest and coolest EV money can buy.
Simply called the Honda e and sticking rigidly to the concept we saw a couple of years ago, this little city car just oozes cuteness.
From the funky circular LED lights which also double up as indicators, to the piano black solid grille, to the signature charging flap on the bonnet, not to mention the sunken door handles that pop out on unlocking, it’s every millennial’s dream come true.
Open the door and that mind-blowing experience continues with a cabin that’s a masterclass in technology and minimalist design.
The retro dash is dominated by five high-definition screens, nestled behind a two- spoke multi-function leather steering wheel.
The outer ones are six-inch screens for the cameras that replace the conventional wing mirrors in the doors while next to that is the 8.8-inch TFT instrument cluster.
Taking centre stage are the dual 12.3 inch LCD displays which are home to a raft of tech including sat nav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a host of apps which can be accessed through voice control, with the simple command of “OK Honda”.
Both displays are interchangeable and also double up as TV screens should you want to download a movie or stream a video from your phone through the car’s in-built wi-fi. The aquarium screen saver is also a standout feature with the fish flitting from one to the other.
It even comes with a HDMI cable which enabled me to have a game of Super Mario on a PlayStation as we recharged. Is that cool or what?
Powering this cheeky little imp is a 35.8kw lithium-ion battery which generates either 136 or 156bhp (with the Honda e Advance model) and has a range of 222km.
Honda are not too worried about the lower range as they are firmly targeting urban dwellers who on average travel just 40km per day.
Charging from a 7.3Kw wall box takes around four hours while on a CCS charger you’ll get 80pc capacity in just 30 minutes.
Like many of its rivals, acceleration in the e is instant and brisk and, although not peel-your-face-off quick, it will zip you from 0-100kph in around eight seconds.
That said, it is tremendous fun thanks to the near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, rear-wheel drive set-up and the independent multi-link suspension which gives phenomenal grip and agility on more challenging roads.
The low centre of gravity gives it go-cart-like handling and is best enjoyed in Sport mode when the steering gets tauter.
It also boasts a super tight turning circle (4.2 metres) which makes manoeuvrability and parking a doddle and that’s without the slick Park Pilot gizmo that will do it automatically.
On a mix of motorway, coastal and city driving in sunny Valencia last week, the range was a mixed bag and after starting with a full battery and covering the 105km route with some vigorous stretches, we arrived at the lunch stop with 44km left. That puts the range with air con, nav and radio on at closer to 160kms which is close enough to the -20pc you should allow for normal/winter driving.
Space-wise, it is a city car and although Honda claimed it is just slightly smaller than a Jazz, it lacked the versatility and indeed the boot, which is poky enough at 171 litres.
The rear seats were also a little snug, especially with a six footer at the helm.
Those negatives aside, the Honda e is by far one of the best EV’s I’ve driven with the exception of the Tesla line-up. It’s fun with a capital F and if the suits at Honda manage to bring it in at under €30,000 (inclusive of grants), then it’ll be a game-changer for the small EV market.
The wait continues I’m afraid as Irish customers will not see the e until summer and deliveries closer to 2021.