Honda's first all-electric vehicle is hitting the streets a little early.
The Honda Fit EV debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2011, and it's expected to be available for lease this summer. However, Honda announced that Google and Stanford University got a special early delivery of the tiny EV this week.
The Honda Fit EV is equipped with a 20kWh lithium ion battery, and has an EPA estimated driving range of 76 miles. Google added the EV to its car-sharing service for employees, dubbed the G-Fleet, in Mountain View, Calif. The search giant maintains several electric and plug-in vehicles that it uses for research and to cart Googlers around town and between buildings on campus.
Stanford University also is an early adopter of the Fit EV, but will be using it primarily for research. The university's automotive research department will study the difference in psychological and physical reactions of using battery-electric vehicles compared to driving a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle.
The rest of us have to wait until summer to lease the Fit EV, and some will wait longer than others. Honda will make it available first in select California and Oregon markets, and will expand to six East Coast markets in early 2013. The Fit EV is expected to retail for $36,625 and lease for around $399.