Honda’s first all-electric motorcycle to be radical take on NM4


Okay, we admit it – this was an April Fools’ prank. It’s not really true, but it was pretty funny. See if you can spot the clue we threw in to lead you to the truth. And check out my mea culpa in the comments. – Ed.

Honda’s first all-electric motorcycle for the North American market will be based on the NM4 cruiser platform, but with an animé look and feel.

The original NM4 was known in some markets as the Vultus; the project name for the electric NM4 is ReVoltus, which seems like a bit of a play on Chevrolet’s Volt electric car. Hub-mounted electric motors will replace the original NM4’s parallel-twin engine, while the battery will sit in the traditional engine space.

Although still officially a concept, it’s considered a “near-production” concept, which means production is already scheduled after some final tweaking.

Reaction from the Internet has been mixed; while some have applauded Honda’s bold step forward, others question Big Red’s wisdom in building yet another oddly-shaped motorcycle, departing so far from traditional design cues.

Honda, however, is sticking to its guns on this one, saying it’s found a strong market for the bike through its acceptance in popular science fiction. A much-modified NM4 is ridden by Scarlett Johansson in this weekend’s new movie release, Ghost in the Shell.

“We believe there’s a huge market for a bike like this, and riders are ready to make the leap into the future with Honda,” said Honda spokesman Kobayashi Maru. “There’s no reason any more why we cannot actually put a motorcycle like this into production — the technology is there, and we already have the NM4 design. The future really is now.”

Maru said the ReVoltus will even have some semi-autonomous elements to help riders. It will balance itself, like BMW’s futuristic Next100 motorcycle concept, and like the manufacturer’s cars, it will use sonar and camera imagery to scan the road ahead for obstacles and provide automatic braking if needed.

Despite Honda’s optimism, the ReVoltus is not yet ready for the road. Maru said its final status, and production date, will be released a year from now, on April 1.


  1. We love April Fools’ Day at CMG, but we thought long and hard over running this spoof piece. By definition, April Fools is the day of fake news, but fake news just isn’t as funny as it used to be. It’s taken in too many people and affected far too much this year that’s important, and – ironically – we don’t want to give it any more credibility than it already has.

    But Zac already had a great idea for an April Fools story, as well as the artwork, and we’d tweaked it and finessed it and were pleased with it. I’m from Britain, where April Fools is an artform, and I know the various unwritten rules: It’s only good until noon on April 1, it should be convincing, there must be a clue in the story, and it cannot be hurtful. There – now they’re written.

    There was no internet when I was a kid; I would read April Fools stories in the newspaper and had only my own self-doubt to call them. No comments beneath the story to immediately give away the game, or at least cast suspicion. I remember reading a long feature piece in one of the Sunday newspapers in the 1970s about a town in Scotland that supposedly had no idea the Second World War had ended; we discussed it as a family over dinner that evening, and were all taken in completely until the paper confessed the following weekend.

    When I worked as a features editor at the Toronto Star, I was the guy who dreamed up and orchestrated a front-page story in the Saturday Star about the CN Tower having an extra 20 metres added to its main column, to regain its title as the world’s tallest freestanding structure. And when I was the Star’s motorcycle columnist in the early 2000s, I wrote a column about the government considering mandatory seatbelts for motorcycles that drew all kinds of furious letters. And at the end of the day, we all – editors, readers and letter-writers – had a good laugh about it.

    But it’s not so funny anymore. Anyone can write anything about anyone and publish it to the world, and it doesn’t end at noon and there are no clues. And it can be very hurtful. And it cannot be denied that America’s President is calling long-trusted news sources like the BBC and the New York Times “fake news”, while accepting the sycophantic reports of other sources that have no reputation for acceptance.

    In the end, we published this story at CMG and it gave us all a good laugh. It even seems to have hooked a few people, judging by their comments on FaceBook. I hope they forgive us now the cat’s out of the bag, and they don’t write us off as a disreputable source of motorcycle news.

    I also hope that it’s not the final April Fools story that we ever publish at Canada Moto Guide, but I have a nagging feeling that it might be. It was funny this time around. Next year, we may be sick of it all.

    mark richardson

    Editor, Canada Moto Guide

  2. April fools, or is it? It could work in the Japanese market. You’d see them in the streets of Akihabara (秋葉原) along side the Nissan GTR with the anime wrap.

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