Among the handful of electric cars either in production for coming out this year, Honda can now boast the best fuel economy. The EPA rating for its Fit EV shows the car earning 118 MPG equivalent, beating the next runner-up Mitsubishi i-Miev's 112 MPGe and the Nissan Leaf's 99 MPGe.
The numbers break down to 132 MPGe city, 105 MPGe highway, with the 118 MPGe number being the combined rating.
At the same time, Honda also gets to claim an EPA-rated range of 82 miles on a single charge, better than the Leaf and i-Miev. However, the Tesla Model S, coming out this summer, should achieve greater range, as its base model boasts twice the battery capacity of the Fit EV.
MPG equivalent is a bit of an odd number, a fuel economy equivalent calculation between gasoline and electricity. Because of the very different nature of filling a gas tank versus charging a battery, car owners may not immediately grasp the difference. When it comes to running costs, however, owners will see a huge delta, not only due to the better efficiency of the electric cars but also due to electricity rates that are typically lower than equivalent per gallon gas prices. The EPA's annual fuel cost for the Fit EV is just $500.
Honda showed off the production Fit EV at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, and will begin a leasing program with the car in California and Oregon this summer. Some East Coast markets will see the car in January 2013.
The Fit EV uses the same basic body as the gasoline-powered Fit, including the versatile interior. Instead of its gas engine, it uses a 92 kilowatt motor to drive the front wheels, with a 20 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack to store electricity. Honda says the Fit EV's battery can be charged up in 3 hours from a 240 volt outlet.