• The Fit EV was rated at 118 miles per gallon equivalent
  • With range of 82 miles, the hatchback officially tops all competitors
  • The Fit EV will be available for lease later this year in California and Oregon

The fully electric version of Honda's subcompact Fit hatchback has been awarded the EPA's highest ever fuel economy rating. According to the government agency, the Fit EV is capable of a tremendous 118 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), a figure that trumps even the most highly efficient competitors.

To achieve the impressive fuel economy score, Honda engineered the Fit EV's electric drivetrain to power the hatchback using as little energy as possible. The Fit EV uses just 29 kilowatt hours (kWh) per 100 miles-a figure that outshines rivals like the Ford Focus Electric, which uses 32 kWh in 100 miles, and the Nissan Leaf, at 34 kWh per 100 miles.

Thanks to its drivetrain and a large lithium-ion battery, the Fit EV also impresses with the longest range of any direct competitors. The Focus Electric is rated for a combined 76-mile range in city and highway driving and the Leaf reaches an EPA-certified 73 miles in the same driving cycle. The Fit EV manages to stretch out its range for 82 miles. That's no small figure in the world of range anxiety-every extra mile allows drivers to relax just a little more behind the wheel.

With its long range and efficient drivetrain, it's no surprise that the Fit EV tops the charts in MPGe, the EPA's fuel economy rating system for electric vehicles. In addition to trumping the LEAF's 99 MPGe and the Focus Electric's 105 MPGe ratings, the Fit EV even bests the highly efficient Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which offers 112 MPGe but boasts a range of just 62 miles.

While Honda also touts the Fit EV's impressive recharging times of about three hours on a 240-volt circuit, the automaker is quick to remind EV shoppers that it's not all about the numbers.

"Just as important as the industry-leading fuel efficiency and fast recharging time, as a Honda, the 2013 Fit EV will be an absolute kick to drive," said Steve Center, vice-president of American Honda's Environmental Business Development Office.

Buyers excited to test the Fit EV's fun factor won't have to wait long; the automaker says the hatchback will be available for lease in California and Oregon later this year. According to Honda, the Fit EV will carry a price of $36,625 before destination when it officially goes on sale in those markets and several others on the East Coast beginning in early 2013.

What it means to you: Although it won't be cheap, Honda's Fit EV will be the most efficient fully electric vehicle yet when it rolls out later this year.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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