Honda’s motobike is following in the footsteps of its colleagues and competitors into the electrical field motorcycle part. It will release four battery-powered bikes in the United States by 2025, but it hasn’t given up on gas-powered powertrains and is committed to continuing to develop them in the coming years.
The company’s motorcycle division is huge: Its customers include commuters, enthusiasts, and racers. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so Honda is exploring several technologies to map out its future range. In terms of electrics in its portfolio, the company will release more than 10 battery-powered models globally by 2025 and plans to sell 3.5 million units annually (about 15% of total sales) by year 2030.
Not all of these models will make it to US showrooms; some so-called “commuter trams” are developed for markets where motorcycles are commonly used as a primary form of transport. The ones that we will receive are labeled “FUN EVs” because they are built around a platform called FUN which is currently under development. We will see three models that have not yet been detailed and a fourth model developed for young riders.
Honda is taking a modular approach to the design of these EVs and plans to power them in solid state. the battery packaging that it is developing internally. In some Asian markets, they are investing in battery change and sharing centers to ensure cyclists don’t need to wait for a charge. Honda operates a battery sharing service in Bali, Indonesia and plans to launch a service aimed at rickshaw drivers in India by the end of 2022. (Magna just made similar moves in India.)
Gasoline-powered Honda motorcycles will exist for the foreseeable future. The company notes that electric scooters are heavier and more expensive than gasoline-powered motorbikes, so they are not suitable for all market needs, and that toll rates largely depend on government regulations, tax incentives and charging infrastructure in a given country. With that in mind, Honda plans to develop more efficient gasoline-powered engines, including some that can run on a mixture of gasoline and ethanol. It already sells flex-fuel motorcycles in Brazil and will bring at least one model to India by 2023. However, it doesn’t look like the US market will get them.