With a fuel efficiency equivalency rating of 118 miles per gallon, the 2013 Honda Fit EV is officially the most efficient new car in America, beating out the Ford Focus Electric, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Nissan Leaf. The electric version of the popular compact hatchback gets a big boost from its lightweight, streamlined design and a powerful electric motor.

Tests by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that the 100% electric Fit EV gets an 82-mile combined city and highway range on its 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, with a full charge in three hours as long as it’s plugged into a 240v outlet as soon as the ‘low charge’ indicator light comes on.  Consuming just 29 kWh for every 100 miles it’s driven, the cost of the Fit EV’s electricity usage is about $500 per year.

118 miles per gallon is the highest efficiency rating the EPA has ever awarded. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which debuted in the U.S. in December 2011, is the previous record holder at 112 miles per gallon with a combined range of 62 miles per charge. The EPA determines the efficiency equivalency rating for electric vehicles by converting the amount of energy present in a gallon of gasoline from BTUs to kWh.

The Honda Fit EV will be offered on lease in California and Oregon this summer, and will go on sale in some eastern U.S. cities in 2013. At $36,625, the electric Fit will cost considerably more than a gasoline-powered Fit, about on par with the Nissan Leaf and a tad higher than the $28,840 Mitsubishi.

Photo: Honda.com