Published on June 15th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart0
Finally, Honda Electrifies Its Cub, Introduces EV-Cub (Don’t Ask Production Date)
June 15th, 2017 by Nicolas Zart
If you’ve been to Japan, or in certain parts of Asia, you will have seen those little Honda scooters, sometimes hauling more than their fair share. Honda’s venerable Cub has been driven million of miles with no-frills practicality in mind. Yet, they have one little, tiny problem. They use gasoline and pollute.
Backdrop of the Honda Cub EV
Honda has been promising us electric vehicles (EV) for almost a decade. To be fair, Honda’s not the only one.
The Honda Fit EV was a pleasure to drive and was one of my top 3 favorite so-called “affordable” EVs at the time it was released. It was a happy car, a term coined for the Fit EV by my German friend who is an avid Porsche driver and driver of other collectible cars. Considering his taste in cars and appreciation of handling dynamics, this was high praise from him. Unfortunately, reserving a Fit EV or even trying to find where the waiting list was ended up impossible for most people. I looked. I asked. I called. I’m not sure how anyone leased those cars. Sadly, Honda stopped the project and focused again on hydrogen, as per its home government’s request. It used the data it gathered and continued its merry way.
Except, many of us were still excited about the Fit EV and thought that Honda should not only make electric cars, but obviously do the same with its motorcycle business. It should be noted also that BMW had already commercialized an electric scooter for Europe and was getting great reviews. Nothing from Honda, however.
In 2013, Richard Hatfield’s Lightning Motorcycle put 22 seconds in front of the best Ducatis at the hands of Carlin Dunne at the Pikes Peak hillclimb race. What we didn’t write about at the end of the event was the flurry of onlookers who came to see the electric motorcycle. Amongst which were Mugen engineers looking at it, shaking their heads, and quietly saying, we need to beat this and we can do better.
And, by the way, if the Honda EV-Cub is not enough for you, I have a challenge. Richard told me a year ago, no one has ever been able to hold the LS 218’s throttle open for more than a second and a half. But don’t kill yourself over it.
Honda’s Slow and Pragmatic EV Approach
Although the EV-Cub is no Lightning Motorcycle LS 218, in fact, it is diametrically opposed — on paper, it is an ideal EV conversion scooter. The Cub was designed as a low-speed utilitarian commuter scooter. It gets you from point A to B, no hussles or hassles. It sips gasoline and can take a beating. It’s the ideal scooter in many ways, so why hasn’t it already been electrified?
A few years back, Honda taunted us a few times with electric Cub concepts but was mum on when and how. Today, we’re happy to say that Honda finally took the obvious step in its electrification progress, electrifying one of its scooters. Next: get to the motorcycles and cars.
The Honda EV-Cub, Technically Speaking
The Honda EV-Cub came with an eyebrow raiser. Two electric motors? One in the front, the other in the back? Now that’s unique. I only know of a few electric bikes that have that configuration, which, by the way, is plenty of fun in the right conditions. Is the Honda EV-Cub going to show more performance than its gasoline counterpart? Surely, that would cannibalize its regular Cub market.
One positive and intriguing system Honda is working on is called LOOP, a communications system for EV-Cub riders that relies on solar power. It’s described as a portable device for rider-to-rider and passenger communications.
The battery will be detachable, which we have come to expect on smaller two-wheeled EVs.
The Honda EV-Cub, When?
And now that we’re this excited, we’d like to know when can we get our hands on it? Drum roll, bets, snacks … 2020? Oh, really? That far away and beating the excitement drum 3 years ahead of time?
Okay, I let that one slip. I’m happy to see the Honda EV-Cub finally coming to the market. Honda is a fascinating company that just doesn’t follow the same path other carmakers and motorcycle makers chose. In fact, Honda is not really a car company. It’s infancy spent racing forged a culture of engineering. In essence, it’s a technology and engineering company that produces many mechanical tools and vehicles. Asking Honda to turn on a dime and embrace electricity is not a simple task, but can we make it sooner than 2020?