Honda launched the 2013 Fit [Jazz] EV at the Los Angeles show and announced plans to begin leasing the 123 city-mile per charge (76 mile range combined adjusted city/highway) battery electric commuter vehicle in the US from next summer.

American Honda will begin leasing the Fit EV to customers in some California and Oregon markets and will expand to six east coast markets early in 2013. A European introduction has yet to be confirmed. The US retail price is $38,675 with an estimated lease price of $399 a month. Honda expects volume at this early stage of production to be approximately 1,100 over the first three years.

The Fit EV has a 20kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92kW coaxial electric motor derived from the motor used in the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle.

Driving range of the Fit EV can be maximised by using several features, including a three-mode electric drive system, adapted from the CR-Z hybrid. The system allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal and Sport. While in Econ mode, practical driving range can increase by as much as 17% compared to driving in Normal mode, Honda said. Acceleration improves “significantly” in Sport mode.

The Fit EV also has ‘interactive coaching features’ designed to assist the driver in maximising battery performance and driving range.

There is a 6.6 kW, onboard 32 amp charger or, with a 240-volt charger, the Fit EV can fully recharge in three hours. By launch time, Honda will have named a preferred electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) charging supplier.

The exterior dimensions of the Fit EV are identical to the petrol-powered Fit with the addition of a higher hip point to accommodate the under floor placement of the 20 kWh battery. US cars will be sold only in one metallic blue colour.