The proliferation of new technologies in the automotive industry, like any other industry, requires a process. The advent of electric vehicles and their evolution over the years is an example of this. Today, different types of electric vehicles can be seen everywhere, as almost all car manufacturers manufacture a wide range of electric or hybrid vehicles – but this has not always been the case.
Although not the first, Honda was one of the first testers of electric vehicles. In fact, the company was the first mainstream car brand to produce an electric car using a nickel-metal hydride battery instead of a lead-acid battery. The car was the Honda EV Plus, and it was produced from 1997 to 1999.
The discontinuation of Honda’s EV Plus was also part of the process of advancing electric technology. Although not a concept car, the EV Plus has been used to test advanced battery types. Consequently, it was replaced by the Honda Insight, which was the company’s first hybrid electric vehicle.
The Honda EV Plus has been largely forgotten, but it occupies an important place in the history of the electric car. Therefore, it is essential to understand what this short-lived option brought to the table.
Here’s a look at the Honda EV Plus.
The Honda EV Plus: General Specifications
If you tried to look for an electric vehicle in the 1990s that was as fast and powerful as today’s modern cars, you’d be out of luck. The 1999 Honda EV Plus was a classic example, as the technology available at the time did not allow for such a high level of efficiency, high speed and high power.
The Honda EV Plus was powered by a 288V nickel-metal hydride and Brushless DC motor, according to electricvehiclesnews.com. The transmission is a single-speed version with reverse. And in terms of power, it makes a maximum of 66 horsepower.
As for speed, the Honda EV Plus could accelerate from rest to 30 mph in 4.9 seconds, and it could reach a top speed of 80 mph. This illustrates that this car was not designed to be fast, but rather to advance the electric car section of the market. Notably, the Honda EV Plus adopted a rear-wheel-drive system.
Now let’s talk about the range and charging options of the Honda EV Plus. Under ideal conditions, this car could travel around 100-120 miles on a single charge. It took the Honda EV Plus up to eight hours to charge using a 220-volt charger. However, with a 110 volt emergency charger, it took about 35 hours. In addition, the electric vehicle had a built-in driver charger.
The Honda EV Plus: Features and Accessories
The Honda EV plus was a fairly simple car. It was not designed to dazzle; it was simply intended to transport people, using an electric battery not made from lead acid. However, it still had many basic features of the time. It was equipped with AC/heat pump air conditioning, HID headlights, as well as an electrically heated windshield.
Customers also received items such as a CD player, power locks and windows, and a remote key fob. Although small, the Honda EV Plus could accommodate up to four people. The Honda EV Plus was a far cry from the incredibly sophisticated electric cars we have today. However, it had pretty much everything you would find in any other car of that era.
All in all, the Honda EV Plus is now a forgotten treasure
As mentioned earlier, this car was designed to test new technologies for car batteries. It shows in the way Honda went about “selling” them. The Honda EV Plus was listed for $53,900. However, Honda never sold the car to the public. Instead, interested customers could lease the car for three years. The cost was $455 per month for the honor of not completely owning this car. After the third year, some customers were able to extend the lease. However, all Honda EV Plus cars were eventually taken back and then recycled.
This is the main reason why this electric vehicle has been forgotten. Sure, it wasn’t anything special and wouldn’t stand out in the overall history of electric vehicles, but it still deserves its place. It was the first time that a mainstream car company had produced an electric car in this way. The Honda EV Plus broke new ground and deserves to be remembered. However, with no way to see them on the streets like other older electric cars, most people have no idea they exist.
The EV Plus not only led to the Honda Insight, but it really served its purpose as a test vehicle. Perhaps Honda knew that for electric cars to really catch on, the world needed more than what the EV Plus had to offer. That’s why they only rented them for a short time and then basically took them off the street.
The Honda Civic range is renowned for its reliability and although a few years have not been up to par, most of these cars are well worth the investment.
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