In September of 2022, Honda had a massive spill-the-beans press conference that said yes, Virginia, we’re working on electric motorcycles. And then over the next 14 months, not much happened. Well, that’s not 100 percent true. We had the EM-1 electric scooter launched in Europe. We also had an electric motocross prototype raced in Japan in October. But no full-sized electric motorcycle concept bike, and based on last year’s press conference, that was surprising.
Honda caught us all up to date in a press conference this week. They laid out some massive plans for the next decade; here are the highlights.
Honda upped its EV moto goals
Honda originally said it wanted to build 3.5 million electric motorcycles a year by 2030. Now, that goal has changed. Honda says it wants to get production to 4 million electric bikes yearly, by 2030.
In 2024, Honda says it will exhibit the SC e: Concept motorcycle around the world, as a forebear to an upcoming electric production bike.
Along with development of that platform—which frankly still looks an awful lot like a scooter, not a true motorcycle—Honda says it is also developing new lithium ferro phosphate batteries, as an upgrade from current li-ion designs. From there, Honda says it hopes to develop solid state batteries, a technology the EV industry seems to be pinning considerable hope on. If solid state batteries do live up to their hype, they could be the magic solution that solves the range/recharging time issues with EV motos.
Another big part of the plan: Honda wants to drop the cost of electric motorcycles, to get them on par with internal combustion bikes. To do that, they are investing huge amounts of money into EV production.
New production lines
A big part of Honda’s move to electric motorcycles is investment in new production facilities for electric motorcycles. By 2031, Honda says it plans to invest 500 billion yen, or roughly $4.7B CAD into new EV moto technology, and all-new motorcycle factories that drop Honda’s cost-per-bike. This supposed to first allow a 5 percent margin on these machines, then 10 percent. Honda wants to make money itself, while it saves you money.
Another big part of the economic future: Honda says it is looking at ways to sell motorcycles outside the traditional dealership model. This may not apply everywhere, as some regions require dealers as a legal stipulation. But don’t be shocked if you head to Asia and see EV Hondas sold out of a roadside kiosk, same as food and cellphones.
A bold new future
There’s a lot more in Honda’s press release. Honda says it plans over-the-air software updates to improve your bike—forget heading to the hot rod shop. The RoadSync software will be continually updated, particularly the navigation system, helping riders find charging stations. And in 2026, Honda says it will start selling units with a telematics control unit. Basically, a black box-type device that records the rider’s in-flight data. Will this slow down your wheelie production? Will it be an end to your ripping away from a stoplight? Will insurers or government get their hands on the data?
There’s a lot going on here, and no doubt a lot more to come as these ideas play out. Stay tuned; the moto world is changing very quickly, or at least Honda says it will change quickly.