Urban mobility is going electric and Honda has just presented what it calls an “affordable solution for the masses” with its Motocompacto. The Japanese automaker started selling, in the US, its rather original personal mobility concept for a starting price of $995.
1. Zero-emissions briefcase scooter
A promising trend in the transportation industry, the foldable all-electric micro-motorcycle features three wheels and a tiny powertrain initiated to the scooter to get the vehicle up to a maximum speed of 25 km/h. The briefcase scooter, as it has often been referred to due to its appearance, takes inspiration from the firm’s original compact scooter launched in the 1980s, called the Motocompo.
Motocompacto is uniquely Honda — a fun, innovative, and unexpected facet of our larger electrification strategy.Jane Nakagawa, Vice President of the R&D Business Unit at American Honda Motor Company
2. Novel approach to electric mobility
Honda is pitching the zero-emissions Motocompacto as an “easy and fun-to-ride mobility solution that significantly reduces carbon footprint while offering great convenience”. The aims to be an ideal option to get around cityscapes or college campuses and for use as a first or last-kilometer vehicle, ditching trips with rental cars, Uber and even long traffic queues.
The electric vehicle addresses the current realities of urban mobility, allowing users a simple and enjoyable alternative form of transportation that significantly decreases their carbon footprint while delivering tremendous convenience, Honda said.
The Motocompacto e-scooter also offers integrated storage for the charging cable, a digital speedometer, a carry handle, and even a connected smartphone app to adjust settings. The company said its engineers in Ohio and California created and developed Motocompacto as an entirely novel approach to personal electric mobility and the feat has earned Honda 32 patents.
The new electric device folds into its compact, light, and stackable carrying case, making it easy to move in a vehicle, take public transportation, or store in confined spaces. However, the unfolding process can be a bit daunting at first, said Julian Chokkattu, a reporter from Wired who tried the Motocompo in the streets of New York.
“I watched as a spokesperson began pulling out latches, whipping out the wheels, lifting the handlebar, and doing a bunch of tiny maneuvers to fully convert the Motocompacto into riding mode. They did it in less than 30 seconds — Ziraldo did it even faster — but on my first attempt, I got confused and had to ask for help,” wrote Chokkattu. But that wasn’t a hindrance for him as he assured that “after a few times you’ll quickly get the hang of it.”
3. Safety, durability & security
The design of the Motocompacto was developed with safety, durability, and security in mind, according to the team. “It uses a robust heat-treated aluminum frame and wheels, bright LED headlight and taillight, side reflectors, and a welded steel lock loop on the kickstand that is compatible with most bike locks,” said Nick Ziraldo, project lead and design engineering unit leader at Honda Development and Manufacturing of America.
4. Honda’s path to net-zero by 2050
The launch of Motocompacto coincides with the introduction of the company’s first fully-electric SUVs, the Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX, both coming to market in early 2024. Toward its global goal to achieve carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities by 2050, Honda will introduce 30 new EVs globally by 2030 with a global sales volume of 2 million units.