Honda Stopping Production of Fit EV

Recently there’s been a lot of outrage online about Honda stopping production of the Honda Fit EV, despite the insane demand for the car. Honestly, I don’t understand why everyone’s so surprised. At the beginning of the program, Honda made it clear that they were only producing 1,100 Fit EVs and that they would only lease, not sell, the vehicles. Now that Honda has confirmed that they are stopping production at 1,100 units, people are upset.

Honda EVs Charging at the Factory

Honda EVs Charging at the Factory

I don’t get it. We already know that Honda made the Fit EV only to comply with California’s ZEV mandate. For this reason, I almost didn’t lease the car. I didn’t want to support a company that doesn’t believe in EVs. However, at the time my options were limited and the Fit EV was far better than any of my other options. After test driving the Fit EV, I couldn’t resist leasing it. (Honda has promised they will not crush the cars when the lease is up).

Some argue that the high demand for the vehicle is a reason for Honda to continue production. In Honda’s defense, there are a few problems with this. It’s hard to say how high the demand really is. Honda is only making about 40 vehicles per month. At those volumes, it’s not hard for demand to exceed supply. Additionally, Honda is surely losing money on this car. It’s a research program that is not meant to make them money, aside from avoiding fines that they would have to pay for not meeting the ZEV mandate. It does not make financial sense for them to lease more vehicles at the current price. If you recall, when the Fit EV first came to market it was $389/mo (which was still a steal when you factor in no down payment, $2,500 CA rebate, insurance, etc) and there was almost no demand for the car.The reason the Fit EV is in such high demand is that it’s a way underpriced lease with unlimited mileage.

Chevy Spark EV

Chevy Spark EV

Of course, I’d love to see Honda ramp up production of the Fit EV and make a real LEAF competitor, but did anyone seriously expect that to happen? At the end of the day, Nissan gets it, GM gets it, Ford gets it, but Honda continues to pour resources into hydrogen fuel cell technology.

If you can’t get a Honda Fit EV, check out the Chevy Spark EV, Fiat 500e (my mom just got one of these and it’s awesome!), and Nissan LEAF. They are all very similar to the Fit EV with their own unique differences. All four vehicles are worth a test drive if they are available in your area.

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10 thoughts on “Honda Stopping Production of Fit EV

  1. I would argue that the Nissan Leaf is in an entirely different category than the Fiat 500e and Chevy Spark EV. The latter two, like the Honda Fit EV, are very low-volume compliance cars sold only in certain regions to satisfy California’s ZEV mandate. They are actually sold–unlike the Fit EV–but volumes remain very low and it’s unclear how easy it will be to get them serviced 5 or 10 years down the road.

    The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is the world’s highest-volume electric car, with more than 100,000 sold globally. Nissan is more committed to battery-electric vehicles than any other volume-car maker, and it has thrown its weight solidly behind the Leaf and other electric cars to come.

    For those reasons alone, I think the Leaf may be a better long-term buy than the limited-availability, very low-volume 500e or Spark EV. Your mileage may differ, of course. 🙂

    • Good point about long term service for compliance cars. I hadn’t considered that. I think that there are enough cars on the road that certain dealers will continue servicing them, just like the RAV4 EVs.

      • Colby: Ford is not selling more plug-in cars than any other automaker, unless you eliminate both BEVs and EREVs, and define it as current monthly sales rate only. Ford HAS beaten Toyota for a few months now on plug-in hybrid sales monthly figures.

        But Toyota has still sold more total Prius Plug-Ins (28,100) than the combined total of C-Max and Fusion Energi models (19,460). Even adding 2,800 Focus Electrics doesn’t get you there. Then there’s the Volt (58,200), which has sold more than any other car with a plug in the U.S., though Nissan has a shot at beating its total by EOY (Leaf is at 47,300 now). Tesla’s at somewhere around 25,000.

        Just commenting ’cause I follow sales figures closely every month.

  2. I’d say Honda engineers get it … having designed one of the most efficient and performance EVs in a (similar) vehicle category. Honda management however doesn’t get it! Living in Washington state, which buys just as many EVs per capita as California and has better EV infrastructure per capita, there are no Fit EVs for sale. 😦

    Saying that “At the end of the day, Nissan gets it, GM gets it, Ford gets it” … I’d have to disagree. No Chevy Spark EVs in Washington. The Ford PEVs has been very high priced til recently, with dealers redirecting interested customers to traditional ICE-Vs.

    The Nissan Leaf is unique; in 2013 the Leaf captured ~1% marketshare of all new vehicles registered in the state. Drive a normal commute through Bellevue, or Seattle, WA and you’ll see 4-10 Leafs (a Volt, and a Tesla or two).

    There are ~4-6 Toyota RAV4 EVs and 2 Fiat 500e’s in Washington. RAV4s are California leases from before November 2013 when Toyota cracked down on what it called ‘lease fraud’. The 500e’s were second-hand new purchases. Washington is also second to California in Tesla Model S sales (with ~0.5% marketshare).

    Even in Oregon, (a ZEV state) the Fit EV has been really constrained with just one dealer getting 0-3 per month. There has been a waiting list from before the Fit EV landed in North America. NY & NJ with lower demand will get more Fit EVs than OR to satisfy the ZEV east-fleet pool numbers.

    Washington and Oregon would have made for ideal test market if the Fit EV was equipped with CHAdeMO DCFC like the Japanese edition. The Westcoast Electric Highway (*) allows extended travel from Whistler, BC to the northern-California border with a network of ~60 DCFC. With DCFC ever ~50-60 miles spacing is ideal for the Fit EVs performance.

    In 2014 Nissan will ship over 50,000 Leaf’s … Honda will ship ~500 Fit EVs. About two orders of magnitude difference in marketshare. In 2017, I estimate Nissan will have 350-500,000 Leaf’s on global roads. How many Honda Fit EVs will be on the road after the 3-year leases expire?

    It’s not just Nissan that Honda needs to worry about; BMW, Daimler, Mercedes, Tesla, VW, etc. will all have all-electric vehicles in the market by 2017. From an engineering design standpoint, the Fit EV is a leader … will Honda evolve its All-EV lineup, or step out of the race?

    There is demand for all-electric vehicles, and there are now regions with infrastructure … we just need dealers to stock more models from more manufactures. 😉

    * http://www.westcoastgreenhighway.com/about.htm

    • Thanks for the comment. I’ve been in contact with a lot of Honda employees, engineers mostly, and they are all enthusiastic about the EVs. This is why I don’t like when people say that Honda as a whole is anti-EV. A lot of people put in a ton of effort to make a really great EV and I’m sure they’re just as sad to see it go.

      I agree that the Spark EV is a compliance car and is not much better than the Fit EV (though you can actually buy it!), but GM has done an amazing job with the Volt and they deserve credit for that. Ford is selling more plug ins than any other automaker, likely because they committed to several different product lines rather than one flagship EV.

      It sure will be interesting to see how all this plays out!

      • Whoops, sorry, my reply to this one somehow got associated with your previous comment. See above for response to the sentence, “Ford is selling more plug ins than any other automaker…”

  3. It has been two years since this article was written. Things are still pretty much the same. Japanese automakers continue to act as if fully electric cars ‘Be Da DEBiL’ or something.

    Too many automobile manufacturers remain focused on proving to regulators and politicians that Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles are ‘The FUTURE’ of transportation.

    Various companies have set out to demonstrate that simply by adding a plug to their cars the price goes up by 100% and range drops by 75% or more.

    General Motors will be releasing the Chevrolet BOLT later this year, which is announced to have a 200+ mile range. But they steadfastly refuse to establish a charging network to allow long distance driving. GM also will limit annual production to 30,000 units — barely enough to come in behind the Nissan LEAF’s maximum US sales — and only 0.3% of their own worldwide annual production.

    Luckily, the Tesla Model ☰ Prototype was unveiled to major accolades and has around 400,000 anxious people awaiting its release at the end of 2017.

    If Tesla Motors can commit to 100% fully electric vehicles, then surely a company as large as GM, Toyota, Ford, or Volkswagen can commit to 1%? Is that really too much to ask?

    • Red Sage: When you say “Japanese automakers,” I presume you are excluding Nissan, which has made more battery-electric vehicles since 2011 than any other maker, including the vaunted Tesla?

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