According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Honda Fit has the highest mileage range compared to competitors like the Ford Focus or Nissan Leaf.
The EPA says the electric version of the Fit travels up to 82 miles from merely one electrical charge. This exceeds the mileage of competitors like the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus electric, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which have a mileage range of 76, 73, and 62 miles respectively.
"The 82 miles is great," said John O'Del car expert, and employee of Edmunds.com. " Every little bit helps when you are talking about range in an electric vehicle. "The car is lighter and smaller so a smaller battery will take it farther," he said.
Could be, but American consumers aren't exactly swarming into showrooms to glide silently away in an electric car, according to a ConsumerAffairs sentiment analysis of about 500,000 social media postings over the last year. We found net positive sentiment never topped 50%, declining to about 23% in May.
It's not that consumers are uncomfortable with the technology and they don't appear to be concerned about scattered reports of battery fires. Rather, it's the high cost and around-town nature of electric cars that consumers find unattractive.
The Fit's 82-mile range may be the best of the lot but 82 miles isn't all that great if your day includes frequent hops on and off the local freeways with no change to recharge in-between.
Stories like the one recounted by Rob Eshman, whose Nissan Leaf, leaves him feeling "like a jackass" when it runs out of juice during his daily jaunts around Southern California. So far the Chevrolet Volt, which has a small gas engine that kicks in when the battery dies, seems to be leading the pack.
The Fit's battery is said to be 13 percent smaller than the Ford Focus, and 17 percent smaller than the Nissan Leaf, giving the vehicle a lighter feel and easier navigation than similar cars on the market. Experts also say the Fit will last up to three hours when charged at 240 volts. Witness last week's story about Dennis Dineen, who has averaged 203.4 miles per gallon and never been stranded during the year he's owned his Volt.
The EPA gave the Fit a rating of 118 mpg equivalent, which is the measure of the average distance a car travels per unit of energy used. The Mitsubishi has a 112 mpg equivalent, the Ford Focus 105 and the Nissan Leaf 99. Yearly fuel costs for the fit came to be $500, which also beat out its competitors.
Honda says it plans to release around 1,100 Fit EVs in the next couple of years. Honda spokesman Chuck Schifsky said in a statement that customers will be able to lease the car for $389 per month and no money down. The cars will begin a national rollout in 2013, after heavy testing by manufactures, but states like Oregon and California will have sooner access.
As far as overall sales of electric cars this year, numbers were strong earlier in 2012, but started to decline in following months. The Nissan Leaf sold 370 vehicles in April, down from 579 cars sold in March. In the past four months the Leaf sold a total of 2,103 units.
The Chevrolet Volt took a sales plunge in the past few months, selling 2,289 in March, down to 1,462 in April. Overall sales in 2012 for the Volt are at 5,377, according to sales reports.
The highest seller in the electric car category in the month of April was the Toyota PriusPlug-In Hybrid, which sold 1,654 cars in the three months the vehicles have been on the market.
Since February, Toyota has sold 2,552 of the plug-in Priuses.