As the limitations of current EV battery tech continue to hold back electric motorcycle development, we see motorcycle manufacturers turning to other ideas. One possibility is hydrogen power; another is hybrid powertrains, with both batteries and gasoline engines. Kawasaki already showed off a prototype along these lines, and we’ve seen patents from Yamaha and Suzuki for these designs. Now e-sleuth Ben Purvis has uncovered patent drawings that show Honda working on a similar system.
You should read Purvis’ whole write-up at Cycle World, but here is the gist of it: Honda has filed patent paperwork depicting a motorcycle with internal combustion engine combined with two electrical motors (which could also theoretically be generators). There are several configurations in the patent paperwork, including single-cylinder and parallel twin engines. In all cases, the electric motors and whatever gas engine is used are all connected to the driveline via planetary gears. This makes the bike able to run 100 percent electric, or 100 percent powered by gasoline, or in some combination of those two power sources.
This is obviously important in a world where, whether riders want them or not, electric motorcycles are going to soon be mandated by government along with other EVs, as ICE vehicles are banned. Hybrid motorcycles, like hybrid cars, get around some of the restrictions of EV tech by offering gasoline backup for when the battery bank runs dry.
Not, of course, that these patents are any guarantee of a product reaching market any time soon. But, in Honda’s highly-underappreciated “Here’s the future” press conference last fall, management was very clear. They plan on changing with the times, and even as EV tech continues to not quite cut it for bikes, perhaps hybrid tech will be the way forward. It is a good way of at least guaranteeing that touring riders will be able to keep on traveling long distances beyond the battery charging network… at least, until you can’t buy gasoline anymore.