Honda, who created the most-produced motor vehicle in history with the Super Cub scooter, is offering 10 new fully-electric motorbikes to ease air pollution in Asia’s megacities.
Scarcely understood by Americans, the ubiquity of Honda Motor Company’s scooters and motorcycles across Asia is absolute—as entrenched a phenomenon as the monsoon rains.
Through their guiding principle that ‘the purpose of technology is to help people,’ they’ve motorized three generations of working poor, which they now aim to electrify.
Between the end of 2022 and 2025, Honda plans to release 10 new electric bikes to fit all the activities their bikes nearly monopolize across Asia, where millions of people commute daily through some of the most polluted urban air in on Earth.
For electric mopeds and bikes capable of going up to 35 miles an hour, Honda plans to release 5 models for the Chinese, Japanese, European, and greater Asia markets between the end of this year and 2024.
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Another two specialty-commuter electric bikes (classified as a bit slower than mopeds) are going to be released outside of China with a variety of factory-changeable features to suit market conditions, and another 4 electric “vehicles,” which look more like highway-speed bikes, will be released by 2025.
Covering all the bases
In 2019 Honda passed an incredible milestone of 400 million bikes sold. For perspective, you could go to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, and put every man, woman, and child you found in the saddle of a Honda bike, and have a few million left over when the job was done.
Honda boasts 37% of the world’s motorbike market share, and 34% of the company’s sales are derived from bikes. And it’s not all quantity; their 2020 profit margins on bikes were the second highest for a fiscal year, and their sales were around 4-5 times that of two-wheeled competition like Suzuki or Yamaha.
This kind of market dominance doesn’t come by chance, it comes by good business models, and Honda have a few tricks up their sleeve with this huge rollout.
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“Electric motorcycles, which promise to contribute to CO2 reduction, have their own issues such as heavier vehicle weight and higher prices,” Honda explains in a press release. “Demand for electric models depends largely on government regulations and incentives such as subsidies and tax credits and the availability of charging infrastructure in each respective country.”
To get around the issue of charging infrastructure in less rich countries, the bike series will come with interchangeable battery packs, and Honda are even investigating the possibility of roping their competitors into harmonizing battery and charging modules across their bikes.
Honda has also introduced the Honda e: Business Bike series, models which are already in use by Japan Post, and which the Vietnam Post have now begun using them for its mail delivery service.
Expecting businesses to continue becoming more conscious of the environment, Honda is introducing its business-use EVs globally, and Honda is also conducting joint trials with Thailand Post, with plans to begin production and sales of the Benly e: in Thailand this September.
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