Just last April, Honda announced a plan to electrify its lineup, which envisaged the release of four electric models by 2024. And now the company is upping the ante: Honda aims to build 10 or more electric bikes by 2025 and sell a million units each year by 2027, according to its recently released short-term electrification strategy.
And this is just the beginning. Earlier this year, Honda’s environmental briefing stated that by 2030, 15% of Honda’s motorcycle production will be electric. And now Honda has confirmed that claim, saying that the 15% target is still on track for 3.5 million EVs a year. All of this is part of Honda’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050. The same date was given as a deadline to end all fatalities involving Honda motorcycles and vehicles (which includes the development and implementation of electronic assistants and active safety systems).
Honda hasn’t been very open about their planned electric models, but their silhouette sketches suggest that of the 11 models in the “global electric lineup expected by 2025,” most will have a scooter layout. The sketches depict seven small models with a scooter layout (that is, without a gas tank between the knees), an electric minibike, a large electric maxi-scooter, and just two traditional-layout motorcycles. Judging by the shape and fit, one will be something in the vein of a neo-retro road bike CB650R, and the other will be a Rebel-style cruiser. However, these images should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism, because the silhouette sketches are unlikely to reflect the actual planned electric models, but rather characterize the direction of Honda’s intentions.
Partially revealing its plans, the company said that in 2024-25 it will introduce two “urban electric bikes” for the Asian, European and Japanese markets. The company will also release five “compact and affordable” electric mopeds or electric bikes in the same markets through 2024 and three “full size FUN EVs” for the Japanese, US and European markets in 2024-25. FUN EV can be translated as “fun” or “recreational” electric bikes, but something suggests that written in caps, this word is some kind of marketing abbreviation or even a trademark.
Of course, these are the same cruiser, neo-retro road builder and maxiscooter. It is known that a retro electric road bike based on the CB125R was described in a Honda patent back in 2020, and this patent certainly fits in with the company’s current plans. But what’s really interesting is that all three FUN EVs will be built on a single platform, in much the same way that the NC750 platform is currently the basis for several quite different bikes of different styles and classes. Around the same time, a children’s FUN EV model will be released, presented in a selection of silhouette sketches in the form of a minibike.
Honda Solid State Batteries
And here’s another interesting detail: Honda intends to use solid-state batteries in its electric bikes, despite the fact that this technology is not yet ready for production. Testing is slated for 2024 and full production in the second half of this decade, so it would be surprising if these batteries are installed in Honda’s first batch of electric bikes. Solid-state batteries promise to be lighter, smaller, safer, and more energy efficient, as well as charge faster than current technology.
Quick Release Batteries
Honda is also leading the way with standardized quick-change batteries, already using Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP) form factor batteries in its PCX electric scooter and domestic Japanese Gyro-e and Benly-e. All of Japan’s Big Four have already agreed on specifications for a standardized quick-change battery that could be used in at least some of their future electric vehicles, and Honda is also one of the co-founders of a European consortium developing a similar standard for European electric vehicles. It is likely that the small EVs in Honda’s plans will use MPP or another variant based on this standard.
The implementation of Honda’s electrification plans implies that the first electric models will likely be introduced as early as 2023. The low-end models will likely be shown first, though it wouldn’t be too surprising if Honda unveils pre-production big bike concepts long before their 2024-25 launch.