Honda delivers Fit EV to Google, Stanford University for tests

Honda Fit EV at Google (large)Honda is rolling out a battery-powered version of the Fit hatchback with deliveries to Google and Stanford University. As part of the “Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program,” the two groups, along with the city of Torrance, California, will collect data on their Fits and provide feedback to Honda.

“Honda’s experience and the unique feedback that Google, Stanford University and the city of Torrance will provide will be valuable to the future introduction of battery-electric technology,” said Steve Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office of American Honda. Google will use its Fit EV in an employee car-sharing program, which will analyze how the cars are used in everyday driving and to measure their energy consumption.

At Stanford, the Fit EV will be used to study the psychological and physical reactions of drivers switching from a gasoline-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle. The Fit EV will be paired with a regular Fit for the tests.

Potentially, this could provide some valuable insight into the “range anxiety” that is associated with electric cars. Because their shorter ranges leave less of a margin for error, and because they take hours, not minutes, to refuel, driving an electric car everyday might be a little more stressful than it appears.

The Fit EV is powered by a 123-hp electric motor and a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that should be good for a 76-mile average range, according to the EPA. A full recharge will take three hours from a 240-volt charger.

The Fit has a slightly smaller footprint than a Nissan Leaf, but thanks to its bulbous design, has more usable cargo space. The petrol Fit’s sporty character seems to have carried over too. “Compared with the [Nissan] Leaf, the Fit EV feels like a Mazda Miata,” said Eric Tingwall of Automobile.

Since the Fit was designed to have an internal combustion engine, it is unclear how retrofitting it with an electric one will affect cabin noise, or whether tweaks will be needed to make the body more aerodynamic to increase range, as in the Leaf.

After Google and Stanford get their turn, Honda will lease 1,100 Fit EVs in California and Oregon this summer, and the East Coast beginning in spring 2013. The price will be $399 a month for a three-year lease. This is a similar approach to the one Honda took with the FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell car, and BMW with the electric Mini E. The cars will be mobile data points, allowing Honda to continue the testing started by Google and Stanford with regular customers.

Cars

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Cars

Honda’s Urban EV is shaping up to be a high-tech, high-style electric city car

Honda will travel to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to unveil a close-to-production prototype that previews an adorable, city-friendly electric car. The Urban EV will offer about 155 miles of range, and its interior is a tech lover's dream come…
Emerging Tech

This insect-sized drone can fly without any moving parts. How? Physics

Researchers from UC Berkeley have built a tiny insect-scale flying robot. Boasting no moving parts whatsoever, its atmospheric ion thrusters also allow it to move completely silently.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Cars

The hottest of all Mini hatches is coming with a Batman-approved design

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the Mini Cooper.
Cars

Report: Amazon and General Motors may invest in electric pickup company Rivian

General Motors and Amazon may invest between $1 billion to $2 billion for minority stakes in U.S. startup Rivian, an all-electric truck company, Reuters reports. Rivian introduced the R1T pickup at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto show.
Cars

Ford F-150 recall: Fault could cause vehicle to downshift into first gear

Ford is recalling 1.48 million F-150 vehicles over a potential fault that could cause it to suddenly downshift into first gear. The automaker said it's currently aware of five accidents related to the issue.
Cars

Volkswagen’s hot-rodded T-Roc R is ready to shred its tires to confetti

Volkswagen released a teaser sketch to preview a hot-rodded SUV named T-Roc R. Insiders suggest it will be closely related to the mighty Golf R, meaning it will pack a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at about 300…
Cars

Audi’s Geneva-bound Q4 E-Tron concept will give us a glimpse of the future

Audi has released a trio of teaser sketches to preview the Q4 E-Tron concept. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show, the design study takes the form of an electric SUV with a muscular design and a tech-filled interior.
Cars

Tesla’s Dog Mode lets good Samaritans know that Fido’s A-OK

Tesla's latest over-the-air software update adds two features called Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Sentry Mode records footage and alerts the owner if someone breaks in, while Dog Mode runs the A/C so owners can safely keep their dogs in their…
Cars

Rock out in the carpool lane with Singing Machine’s Carpool Karaoke microphone

Carpool Karaoke fans can count down the days till summer. That's when Singing Machine's Carpool Karaoke microphone will be available. Connect the Carpool Karaoke Mic to your car radio to make your next road trip a mobile karaoke party.
Cars

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Emerging Tech

With CabinSense, cars will soon know who’s riding in them and respond accordingly

What if your car could know who's riding in it and customize the entertainment and safety options accordingly? That’s what's promised by the new CabinSense in-car Occupancy Monitoring System.
Outdoors

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.