Honda has high hopes for its e electric supermini that made its world debut last week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Japanese automaker expects to deliver approximately 10,000 units of the e each year, despite the fact that the EV will only be available in Europe. The sales estimate is double the amount it forecast two years ago when the the first concept version of the car, the Urban EV, was unveiled.
Its optimism is in part explained by the 40,000 expressions of interest it has received so far. That doesn’t necessarily mean the automaker has 40,000 sales in the bag, just potential customers, while the 10,000-unit target is the minimum amount that would allow Honda to avoid paying EU fines.
Also Read: No Plans For A Type R Version Of Honda e, Says Boss
That’s because the EV is key to Honda achieving the CO2 targets set by the European Union for 2020 and 2021. Depending on how well other models will do, it may need to sell more EVs than the predicted 10,000. Honda has committed to achieving the EU’s fleet average for CO2 of 95 gram per kilometer instead of paying fines and the e is an essential part of the equation.
“It slightly depends on the performance of our other models. If we sell more CR-V petrol models than hybrids than we expected then we might have to sell more of the Honda e," Dave Hodgetts, managing director of Honda UK, told Autonews Europe.
The big question here is how does Honda plan to increase sales of the e. The most obvious ways would be to invest more in marketing or lower the price. The Honda e is already available to order across several European markets, with prices starting at €33,850 (approximately $37,270) in Germany for the 136 PS (134 HP) standard model and €36,850 ($40,570) for the higher-powered 154 PS (152 hp) Advance.
Factor in Germany’s eco bonuses and the price drops to €29,470 ($32,450) for the base model. In the UK, the Honda e starts at £28,660 ($35,550), but the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant lowers the base price to £26,160 ($32,450).
That’s a lot of money for a supermini, even for a posh, high-tech EV like the Honda e. To put things into perspective, it costs more than twice than an average subcompact hatchback with an internal combustion engine.
Will Honda manage to sell 10,000 units a year, or even more, when the revised VW e-Up starts at €21,975 ($25,000) in Germany and offers 260 km (161 miles) of range compared to the e’s 220 km (137 miles)? Only time will tell, though Honda certainly hopes its EV’s design and tech will convince customers.