Despite its status as a global mega-manufacturer, Honda still hasn’t released an electric motorcycle in many markets. And even though it’s had plenty of opportunity, Honda hasn’t raced an electric motorcycle—but soon, that’s going to change.
Honda says it plans to enter an electric motorcycle into a race for the first time ever at the end of October, in the All Japan Motocross Championship. They will race the latest version of the CR Electric Prototype, a battery bike that Honda first unveiled in 2019 at another Japanese motocross event. See below:
Actually, the machine looked a bit familiar even then, because it bore some resemblance to the far-out electric MXer that Mugen showed off at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2017. Mugen has very close ties to Honda. It’s long been suspected that its electric motorcycle racing efforts (including lots of success at the IOMTT) are actually a backdoor R&D program for Honda.
Whatever the case (the new bike does appear to be a long way removed from that Mugen MXer), Honda seems confident enough in the new battery-powered CR that it’s entering the Japanese motocross series on a wild card for Round 8, running October 28-29. They’ve even brought in Trey Canard to ride the bike. It’s true that Canard might be well past the days of his AMA championship-winning prime, but he’s a name that people know and respect. Honda didn’t pick him from the results of a social media poll.
So, stay tuned on this one. Honda is rolling out new electric scooters in more urbanized markets, and has promised an electric motorcycle for North America in the near future. Will electric racebikes precede that effort? It would make sense…