Electric scooters are all the rage in suburban neighborhoods. Kids have been tooling around on inexpensive Razor electric scooters for years. Now Japan’s number two automaker, and the number one motorcycle manufacturer in the world, Honda, plans on releasing a zero emission electric scooter. The EV-neo scooter is equivalent to a 50cc gasoline powered bike. The super quiet scooter is being aimed initially at commercial users. Commercial enterprises that depend on local delivery service, like pizza restaurants, and newspapers are the scooters main target audience. Honda initially plans on leasing the EV-neo to companies in Japan and China. They have no plans to sell outside of these two markets at this time, according to a Honda spokesperson. Honda estimates that the demand for their EV-neo scooter could reach 17 million units. Honda does plan on eventually opening the EV-neo to consumers in those countries as well. The EV-neo runs on a lithium-ion battery and can be recharged to about 80% of capacity within 20 minutes using a rapid charger, or fully charged with a normal socket in four hours. The range of EV-neo is only 19 miles. Honda plans to lease the scooters instead of selling them and hopes to set a price will that will cost less than a regular bike over three years including gas prices – a range that would be about 600,000 yen ($6,000) to 800,000 ($8,000) each. Rival Yamaha Motor Co., the world’s second-biggest motorcycle maker, is also due to begin selling a battery-run scooter in Japan later this year, with plans for launch also in Taiwan and Europe. Yamaha had discontinued a range of electric scooters sold between 2002 and 2006 in Japan after their lithium-ion batteries were recalled.
Photo: Honda EV-neo scooter Photo Courtesy: Honda Motors