Well, that was quick. Just one month after it unveiled the electric Fit EV prototype at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Honda is about to put the first of its electric subcompacts into daily use in southern California.
Amusingly, it's in Torrance, where rival automaker and hybrid leader Toyota has its U.S. headquarters.
The city of Torrance will receive a Honda Fit EV to test early next year, and then in 2012, a Honda Accord sedan fitted with Honda's new plug-in hybrid powertrain as well. Stanford University and Google will also receive their own Fit EV test cars.
In Torrance, the cars will be used by various city departments, including the Economic Development office, the Community Development department, and the Public Works office.
The president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Tetsuo Iwamura, took part in a ceremony with Torrance mayor Frank Scotto to hand over a symbolic Honda key. Honda's demonstration program will give the company real-world data on how drivers use both electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The all-electric Honda Fit EV will be launched in 2012 in the U.S. and Japan, probably as a 2013 model. Its lithium-ion battery pack gives it a range of up to 100 miles (70 miles when applying EPA's adjustment factor), and Honda quotes a top speed of 90 miles per hour.