Honda confirmed to both Automotive News and Top Gear that the retro-chic, battery-electric Honda e hatchback is dead in Europe. Anyone who wants one will have to get it out of inventory, as the automaker has stopped taking orders in the few countries that still have the e on sale. Concurrent with that, a note on the e page at Honda’s retail site in Japan says, “Production of the Honda e will end in January 2024. Honda e will be discontinued once the production run is sold out.” That ends the short life of an electric darling applauded for its design and shunned for its price and compromises.
The e debuted at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, going on sale overseas the following year in two trims. If an enthusiast had wished for a 1975 Honda Civic CVCC made for the electric era, this was it. Cute and stylish outside, inviting materials inside if a little heavy on the screens, plenty of tech, and a 14-foot turning circle. Those were the winning bits that encouraged 22,000 people to register their interest in the e when Honda was still showing prototypes.
The powertrain and range details, combined with the price, didn’t win many actual buyers. The base 134-horsepower version started at €33,470 in Germany (about $36K in today’s dollars) before electric car subsidies. The 152-hp Advance trim added €3,000 to the price. Both trims used the same powertrain, a 37.5-kWh battery rated to get an estimated 220 WLTP kilometers (137 miles) on a charge, the difference being the Advance got a little more standard equipment and a quicker 0-62 mph time of 8 seconds. By this year, the Advance was the only trim left, and it cost €40,000 in Germany ($43,000) — a tough sell when the Volkswagen ID.3 starts at the same price and comes with more room, more power, and more than double the range. AN reported that Honda wanted to sell 10,000 units in Europe annually, but the e might not have found 10,000 buyers on the continent during its entire run.
A Honda statement on the car’s demise said it lured “many new customers to the brand with its distinctive design, advanced technology and trademark Honda driving dynamics [and] spearheaded [the brand’s] strategy to electrify 100 percent of Honda’s mainstream European line up by 2022.”
The battery-electric Honda e:NY1 is already on sale in Germany to replace the e, priced at €47,990 for an SUV form factor and driving position and a range of 412 kilometers (256 miles). For our market and the rest of the world, Honda’s planning an EV showcase of global models at next year’s Consumer Electronics Show.