According to a report in the Mainichi Daily News, Honda is developing gasoline/electric hybrid engines for its motorcycles. The technology, made famous by cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, supplements gasoline power with electricity stored in on-board batteries with the aim of improved fuel consumption and reduced emissions. It works best around town, where frequent regenerative braking tops off the batteries, which then run the vehicle at low speeds in place of the internal combustion engine. The technology is less effective on the open road, where it amounts to added dead weight that needs to be hauled around. Honda intends to offer hybrid versions of bikes ranging from a capacity of 200 to 1000cc. Smaller bikes, a successor to the Cub included, will be powered strictly by electricity.
By sharing parts with its automobile division, Honda believes that it
can make the up-front cost of hybrid powertrains viable for two-wheel
platforms. In cars, it's often 36,000 miles or more before the money
saved on fuel equates to the added cost of the hybrid technology. If
Honda is to succeed with hybrid motorcycles, it'll need to bring that
pay-off point much lower, while leveraging the already excellent fuel
economy ability of two-wheelers for some seriously impactful green
marketing. 100mpg+ 600cc UJM anyone? Expect vacuous Hollywood
celebrities to be riding them at the beginning of the next decade.
via The Mainichi Daily News