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Honda Fit's 82-mile range leads the pack

Honda is back in the battery electric car business.

The company's Fit EV is rated as having the longest range of any electric vehicle sold in the U.S. so far. 

Federal regulators say the Fit EV can go about 82 miles on a fully charged battery. 

That's six miles more than the electric Focus and nine more than the Nissan Leaf. 

It may not seem like much of a difference, but for people who've experienced range anxiety -- that's the fear of not having enough battery juice to reach your destination -- they know, every extra mile counts. 

Elmer Hardy is Honda's Senior Manager of Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Sales and Marketing.  He says it wasn't one single thing that eked out the extra miles for the Fit EV.

"Aerodynamics, light-weighting, battery efficiency and the overall electric powertrain, all combined to give us that great rating, " says Hardy.

Hardy says the popularity of the Fit for urban customers made it the perfect vehicle for an electric version, since most electric car buyers live in cities.

The Fit EV goes on sale in California next month. It will cost about $30,000 after customers claim a federal tax credit.

Honda sold a battery-powered electric vehicle in the late 1990s called the EV Plus.  The company then turned its attention to the development of hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric cars.

But in 2012, Hardy says the electric Fit is part of Honda's "portfolio" approach to technologies that have the potential to wean cars off oil.

The Fit EV will almost certainly qualify for use in California's dedicated car-pool lanes.  

Those lanes can dramatically cut down on commuting times.  People driving electric vehicles - and special lower-emissions versions of the Chevy Volt - are also permitted to drive in them.