Honda e offers bags of style by the mile over a limited range
Honda’s futuristic EV takes inspiration from the past to create a unique offering for the road that drivers will love, however its short range may limit its appeal to high mileage fleets
A key question fleets often ask is whether electric vehicles can go the distance when it comes to their specific needs.
While the driving range of different models on a single charge is becoming less of an issue with the growing national recharging network, it is still an important consideration, as illustrated by the latest addition to the Reflex Renewable Drive programme.
The Honda e is an instant icon, mixing inspiration from the original Honda Civic of the 1970s with some of the most advanced technology available on a modern car, including a ground-breaking interior that has to be experienced from behind the wheel.
The only downside to this perfectly-formed package is its range, currently up to 136 miles. This is too little to break free of fossil fuels for our latest fleet test driver, Mohammed Patel, from textile recycling specialist Savanna Rags International, whose vehicles can cover up to 20,000 miles a year and visit sites nationwide for its work processing and exporting recycled clothing.
“It is a fantastic-looking car both inside and out. There are lots of features that I really like, particularly the technology.“My only drawback is the range. The usable range is around 100-110 miles as you aren’t going to risk running the range to zero before plugging in. I would really need the range to be 250 miles because of our high mileages.”
With the fleet covering journeys stretching from its Mansfield base to London, Bristol, Wales and Manchester, travel could be disrupted by charging.
He adds that the road test shows how different vehicles are suited to varied fleet needs.
“Electric vehicles will suit different uses based on their capabilities, which is just the same as petrol and diesel vehicles today. The Honda e is great, but I think the range means it will be suited to urban-based fleets.”
This reflects Honda’s expectation of the car’s intended use, with the manufacturer describing it as its first ‘all-electric urban car’. If a driver’s mileage pattern suits the Honda e, they are in for a technological treat, particularly from the bank of screens stretching the width of the dashboard.
The individual screens can be set up according to a driver’s needs and can even display a digital aquarium, while two six-inch screens on the edges of the dashboard replace the door mirrors and show feeds from exterior cameras.
“I really like the digital door mirrors because you can see what’s around you without turning your head as much. The bird’s eye view from the reversing camera is also a really clever feature.”
Other practical features include a tiny turning circle, with the wheels able to turn to 50 degrees, so the Honda e can cope with any challenge on city streets.
The road test highlights the benefits of the Reflex Renewable Drive programme as it provides fleet managers with first-hand knowledge of the pros and cons of different electric vehicle platforms.
It also shows the importance of working with a trusted partner, says Mohammed.
“The levels of service from Reflex are faultless and they are a key reason why I switched to them. They provide nearly all my vehicles now, which is a testament to their high standards, from management through to logistics. They take time to understand your business and support you.
“They even arrange mobile servicing and work on vehicles out of hours, so our day isn’t disrupted. Every element of their business is focused on meeting my needs, which is really appreciated.”
The next stage of the Savanna Rags electric journey is assessing market developments for vans, where a mix of range and payload will be a priority for the 14-vehicle fleet.
“The EV market is developing quickly, so I will watch developments closely to see how electric commercial vehicles can meet our needs in future.”
If you would like to take part in the Reflex Renewable Drive programme, contact one of our expert team members. For details on the wealth of vehicles available on flexible terms from Reflex Vehicle Hire, visit our Vehicle Selection page.