According to a report in Japanese newspaper Nikkei, Honda plans to start sales of an electric scooter in Japan before the end of this year. Only three details of the bike were revealed: that it will retail for ¥500,000 ($5,366), feature performance equivalent to a 50cc ICE and will be powered by Toshiba lithium ion batteries. Those, combined with Honda’s assertion at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show that it would put something similar to the EV-Cub into production this year, gives us enough information to make an educated guess that the machine will be similar to the concept pictured here.
Update: yeah, it’s actually going to be the Honda EV-Neo, a generic budget scooter with some batteries shoved under the seat and a very non-budget price tag. And only 18 miles on a full charge. Japan-only. FAIL. Image below.
Why the Honda EV-Cub and not a generic scooter with a couple of batteries
thrown under the seat? For one, the price. ¥500,000 is nearly equivalent
to a new VTR250, meaning that any product with 50cc equivalent
performance will need to be a premium luxury good and not just basic
For another, the historic significance of the product. 2008 marked the
50th anniversary of Honda, the first product of which was, of course,
the Cub. Ushering in a new era of electric transportation is a huge
milestone for a company with a strong grasp of its own history.
Launching the future with a product referencing its beginning carries a
symmetry that won’t be lost on the company’s executives or marketers.
A retro step-through with futuristic styling could also be the perfect
fit for Honda’s first electric. With only limited performance possible
with current technology, an electric bike that looked like something
faster could run the risk of disappointing consumers. The Cub carries
very little performance baggage both in the form of expectations of
speed, but also in image; you’d be hard pressed to find anyone too
intimidated to swing a leg over one. The Cub is friendly, electricity is
friendly et voilà.
There’s no escaping that the concept shown here isn’t just styled like a
Phillippe Starck sex toy, but also that it appears to be two-wheel
drive. Don’t expect to see that on a production bike due to cost, even
if the two motors two create a pleasing visual symmetry.
Thanks for the tip, Will.