This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
$1 buys you full access to ALL of TheStreet's Subscription Services! Learn More

Honda Needs an Electric Minivan to Fight the Tesla Model X

Stocks in this article: HMCTSLAFTMGM

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Honda (HMC) made the first gasoline-electric hybrid car for the U.S. market with the Insight, over a decade ago, before the Toyota (TM) Prius overtook the segment. It has now delivered its first plug-in electric hybrid sedan, with a version of the Accord, starting at $40,000 before tax incentives.

Does Tesla (TSLA) have to worry?

I spent a week and 250 miles in the car, and I'm sad to say the Honda plug-in sedan falls short compared to the critical competitors. But let's first describe what the car really is.

Most people are familiar with the regular Honda Accord. A mid-size sedan best-seller for decades, the latest iteration has grown and is larger than ever. Getting in and out is easy thanks to large doors. It's the new "large American car for large, corn-fed Americans" which I like and appreciate.

In general, the passenger interior is spacious, except for rear-seat headroom, which is a shade less than passable. In this plug-in electric hybrid version, close to half of the luggage space is lost, which is catastrophic. It is likely a deal-killer for many people. This also means the rear seat doesn't fold.

The Accord plug-in hybrid has a new kind of electric motor and transmission, which is almost similar to what is in General Motors' (GM) Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR, except it's not nearly as powerful, of course. It's too complex to describe here but suffice it to say that it functions differently from the "power-split" combiners used by Ford (F), Toyota and potentially others.

What does that mean in practice, and how does the Accord plug-in hybrid drive as a result? The first thing you will notice as you pull away is how light the car feels. The car is a predictable 3,800 lbs but feels about half. Why?

It is obviously mostly an illusion, but the illusion is a combination of three things: 1. The steering is extremely light. Blow some air onto the steering wheel, and it moves. 2. The pedals, notably the accelerator, has minimal resistance. 3. The gasoline engine revs very easily.

Gasoline engine? Isn't this mostly an electric car? Um, not really. The battery will only take you an average of 13 miles, according to the EPA rating. That was consistent with my testing, but keep in mind that if you apply more than, say, 25% or so of the power -- the gasoline engine comes on.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,827.75 +12.81 0.07%
S&P 500 2,072.83 +5.80 0.28%
NASDAQ 4,787.3170 +29.0650 0.61%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs