Honda has signed a deal with Hitachi Automotive Systems to develop and make motors for electric vehicles.
While the Memorandum of Understanding doesn’t specify electric motorcycles, Honda has already confirmed it will have the EV-CUB electric scooter (pictured above) available from 2018.
The move by the world’s largest motorcycle company could be a significant spark that kickstarts the electric motorcycle market.
There have been many small and cheap electric scooters churned out of China, many boutique start-up electric bike companies making expensive models and several major manufacturers who have made electric bikes.
However, few are on sale yet.
- Yamaha and KTM make moto and off-road electric bikes;
- Kawasaki is considering a small electric Ninja;
- Harley-Davidson says its Livewire will be available in the next few years;
- BMW produces electric maxi-scooters and has produced the eRR electric superbike concept; and
- Polaris bought and now sells the Empulse as a Victory although that could change with the demise of that company.
At the moment, it looks more like they will work together on producing small cars in Japan, China and the USA.
However, electric motorcycle momentum would take a big leap forward if these major companies started producing electric bikes.
Hitachi Automotive Systems is one of the most experienced electric automotive motor companies in the world with a history dating back to 1999.
Honda also made its first petrol-electric hybrid car in 1999 and has produced many electric concepts over the years. They also back the Mugen electric TT race bike.