Silent & un­cras hable

Honda’s mas­sive tech­no­log­i­cal push kicks off with elec­tric bikes for 2018

BIKE (UK) - - NEW BIKES -

NEXT YEAR YOU’LL be able to buy a pro­duc­tion Honda that doesn’t drink petrol, won’t re­quire road tax and that you’ll barely hear com­ing. Yes, they’re go­ing elec­tric. Honda’s pres­i­dent and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, con­firmed plans at a re­cent press bash in Tokyo, Ja­pan. He said two-thirds of the cars they sell will be elec­tri­fied by 2030, fo­cussing on hy­brids us­ing both con­ven­tional en­gines and elec­tric mo­tors, and us­ing a unique plug-in charg­ing sys­tem. And con­ve­nient, quick-charg­ing tech­nol­ogy is com­ing to two wheels as well. ‘We are work­ing on a highly-con­ve­nient sys­tem for elec­tric com­muters, which fea­ture a de­tach­able mo­bile bat­tery that is easy to re­place and/or recharge,’ said Hachigo. ‘We are plan­ning to in­tro­duce some new mod­els in­clud­ing an elec­tric scooter in 2018.’ This is likely to be the EV-CUB, a bat­tery-pow­ered ver­sion of the iconic step-thru’ with an elec­tric mo­tor in its rear hub, seen as a con­cept at the 2015 Tokyo show. (Honda have leased elec­tric scoot­ers called the EV-NEO in Ja­pan since 2011, but it’s now way out of date – the Cub’s lead­ing-edge.) This will cer­tainly lead to larger elec­tric bikes; note he said mod­els, not model. Cen­tring their au­to­mo­tive at­ten­tion on hy­brids links nicely with the Ne­ow­ing con­cept, a lean­ing trike with a large-ca­pac­ity flat-four en­gine backed by elec­tric power. Shown at the same Tokyo event as the EV-CUB, the com­bined power sources and sin­gle-sided shaft drive rear are ex­pected to be on the next-gen­er­a­tion Gold­wing. And Honda aren’t in­volved with Mu­gen’s Tt-win­ning elec­tric racer just for the crack. Ex­pect other fu­tur­is­tic what­nots. Hachigo talked about ‘col­li­sion­free’ cars and how SENSING tech­nol­ogy (in­clud­ing park­ing as­sis­tance and a ‘road de­par­ture mit­i­ga­tion sys­tem’) will now be on all new cars for Ja­pan. They’re de­vel­op­ing auto lane-change tech and want fully au­to­mated mo­tor­way driv­ing by 2020. Two-wheel­ers are ob­vi­ously dif­fer­ent, us­ing steer­ing for bal­ance as well as cor­ner­ing, how­ever bikes won’t es­cape elec­tronic as­sis­tance. Honda’s self-bal­anc­ing ‘Rid­ing As­sist’ NC750S was shown ear­lier this year, show­ing their de­sire to make fu­ture mo­tor­bikes as hard to prang as cars. Silent, su­per-ef­fi­cient, self-park­ing VFR1200F that won’t let you run wide in cor­ners? Won’t be long.

Mu­gen’s TT racer: a hint at the 2025 Fire­blade? EV Cub: the plas­tic pig for the Jet­sons

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