Honda Wants To Have An Electric Motorcycle On The Market By 2017

Illustration for article titled Honda Wants To Have An Electric Motorcycle On The Market By 2017

Honda is out with its latest annual sustainability report, and tucked away in its mid-term environmental initiatives are plans to bring some electric motorcycles to market in the next two years. But Honda’s approach is tepid at best.

The lone line from the report reads: “Market electric motorcycles that meet local needs in developed (Japan: loaned) and emerging (China) countries”.

Based on that it’s safe to assume China will get some low-cost electrics and Japan will benefit from two-wheeled EVs that are either leased or, more likely, used in some kind of vehicle-sharing scheme.

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Neither plan is particularly inspiring, continuing a long tradition of Honda toying with the idea of electric motorcycles but failing to deliver anything commercially viable.

Way back in 1994 it developed a small fleet of electric scooters for the government and local municipalities, tapping into that heritage when it showed off the EV-Neo in 2012. That was followed up by the RC-E concept (above), which Honda still hasn’t committed to, while continuing to work with Mugen on the Shinden series, which has successfully run in the Isle of Man TT Zero class.

The fact that Honda won’t mention Europe or the U.S. as possible markets for electric bikes says more about its plans than anything else, which is a shame, considering no other major bike manufacturer has taken up the gauntlet companies like Zero have thrown down.

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DISCUSSION

As a former rider I would seriously consider an electric motorcycle if the price points were the same. It would be a great (and fun) summer commute vehicle. One thing that would worry me though is how quiet it would be. With the massive blind spots on my coupe, loud pipes have alerted me to the presence of my two wheeled road-going friends on more than 1 occasion.