Honda EV-Cub Entering Mass Production in Two Years

02/24/2016 @ 1:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

EV-Cub Concept

It is not with great surprise that we learn today that the Honda EV-Cub is coming to market within the next two years. The news comes from Honda President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo, who said as much during his press conference today in Japan.

The Honda EV-Cub is of course the electric version of Honda’s uber-popular Honda Super Cub motorcycle, which is the best selling motorcycle of all time (roughly 87 million units were sold in 2014 since its inception in 1958).

The Honda Super Cub looks also to be getting an overhaul, with a new concept design making the rounds last year at the major trade shows.

For the Honda EV-Cub though, the electric scooter is part of a larger problem in urban transportation, especially in Asian countries where the rapid rise in the local economies is seeing more and more people on the roadways.

Electric vehicles meet the demands of moving people effectively around city centers, while minimizing the emissions impact from having that many motorists on the road. Try taking a deep breath in China, if you need an illustration of the problem.

Even Japan is not immune to the growing pains of its population. Anyone who has tried to find some personal space in Tokyo should understand what we mean.

As such, it isn’t surprising to hear that Honda will debut the EV-Cub on its home turf of Japan first, followed by the main ASEAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which account for many of the sales from the Honda Cub series.

Honda-EV-Cub

EV-Cub Concept

EV-Cub Concept

EV-Cub Concept

EV-Cub Concept

Source: Honda

  • jzj

    I’ve been unable to track down any specs on this bike — which is admittedly still a couple of years from production, and so whatever specs are to be found would have to be taken with a grain of salt anyway. Still, the photos in the article depict fairly significantly different bikes, as one seems to have both front and rear hub motors, and the other only has a rear hub motor (a DIYer can find 10 KW hub motors on the market, so clearly Honda has a lot of opportunity here). One article has the bike’s designer stating that the battery will be located underneath and (of course) will be removable for carrying in and charging. One would think that a good 5 KWH battery pack would be capable of (at most) 50 miles around town, and using presently-available 18650 cells that pack should weigh about 50 pounds, so split into two packs that would be reasonable weight to carry around. (Given Japan’s ridiculously-optimistic mileage efficiency standards, Honda could say you only need 4 KWH for 50 miles, but that’s just not realistic.) By the time they produce it in a couple of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if that weight dropped by 20%. In any event, I don’t know why they’re taking things so slowly, other than perhaps because Honda has been slow to the whole EV thing.

  • paulus

    The cub is popular in ASEAN because it is cheap. Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, cheap to run. With an EV version, unless it is heavily subsidized it will not match those price levels in at least 2 of 3 areas.

  • jzj

    Not sure which is the second area you’re referring to, as of course EVs are cheap to maintain (there is no maintenance) and cheap to run (electricity as a fuel is less expensive than gas). In fact, EVs are typically cheaper than gas vehicles for those reasons, because under typical usage over their lifespan the lack of maintenance and the less expensive fuel will put you ahead of a gas vehicle when adding up these costs. I agree that EVs are currently subsidized — but that’s to make things close to even given the amazing amount that the gas industry is subsidized (you are paying for all these costs either way through your taxes: my preference would be to get rid of every government-absorbed cost and let everything cost what it really costs).

  • Gonçalo

    I came here to hate on the looks. My original comment would have been something to the effect of “why the hell do they insist on going retro with the styling? It’s future tech, make it future looking.” But the more I look at it, the more I realize that the original Cub was designed by function. If priced correctly, this could be a great alternative transportation in cities. I personally would love to see our cities flooded by EV bikes. It would help normalize the biker stigma for all of us…much like the original cub helped do.

  • paulus

    I don’t agree on the lack of maintenance. Battery packs have declining rates of performance with time/usage… I dread to consider the cost of the replacements vs the cost of parts for an IC engine. Crash damage is a reality and whilst there are fewer parts to EV, they are relatively expensive ones. Fuel is cheap and mileage is good… hard to recover the benefit of cheap EV power.

  • 4 kWh is enough to power a small scooter for 50 miles at 25-35 mph. Higher speeds would require a larger pack, certainly.

  • jzj

    My rule of thumb is about 100W/mile, but I suppose about 80W/mile could be fine for a light and efficient moped — yet, so much depends upon your right wrist.

  • 100 Wh/mile is a good rule of thumb for mixed riding on a motorcycle.

    I did a ~9 mile loop this morning on my 2014 Zero SR (~400 pounds). Mostly 30-35 mph, a couple miles at 35-40 mph and a couple miles at 20-25 mph.

    74 Wh/mile for the trip. That’s DC watt-hours out of the pack, so not counting AC charging losses. A lighter scooter traveling at lower speeds (I doubt the EV cub will go > 35 mph) will probably do better.