Honda may have its eyes on the lucrative shared electric mobility market, based on new patent images showing a fascinating little electric motorcycle or e-scooter variant.
Companies like Bird, Lime, Veo, Tier, and others have rolled out increasingly interesting electric scooters and e-mopeds designed for sharing applications in dense urban areas.
While stand up scooters were the original kings of shared mobility, seated electric scooters have come into their own as more comfortable and more stable alternatives.
Honda’s recent patent applications for some type of micro-electric scooter show that the company could be seriously considering entering this market and applying its manufacturing prowess to the already crowded space.
Early patent applications and their drawings indicate a pint-size electric scooter or motorbike designed to carry a single rider for short urban trips.
The small wheels and frame create a diminutive two-wheeler that is essentially built around its large battery.
We don’t yet have any technical details regarding the motor or battery, but it could be an opportunity for Honda to put its Mobile Power Pack battery to use. The company is hoping that its battery design, which looks much like a Gogoro knockoff, could become a widely accepted standard for swappable motorbike and scooter batteries.
Honda’s small electric scooter uses motorcycle-style flip-up foot pegs that also hold a secret beneath their surface. They come with a design that can click into matching hitches on other scooters, creating a Transformer-style multivehicle variant.
As pointed out by Cycle World, the flock of scooters would even act like a single scooter, thanks to the electrical connection that would pass rider input to all scooters in the group.
In the image of the four scooters shown below, the rider would sit on the lead scooter and their throttle and steering inputs would transfer to all scooters in the group. All of the motors would engage to provide power, but the steering inputs on the front-most scooter would result in increasing or decreasing motor power on the inner and outer scooters as a type of thrust vectoring or tank steer in turns.
The idea is that when the scooters need to be repositioned around a city, many could be moved at once by a single operator piloting the entire flock instead of needing a truck or van to redistribute them.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen pint-size electric scooters with folding handlebars and a frame that is largely there to hold two wheels and a seat onto a massive battery.
We’ve played around with designs like the Voro Motors Roadrunner, which is a 34-mph (54 km/h) electric scooter with dual motors for all-wheel drive.
Designs like these may look silly but actually offer serious utility. The small and lightweight designs offer as much or sometimes even more speed as an electric bicycle, yet in a much smaller design. The folding handlebars even mean that these can be placed in the back seat of a car or placed under a table without taking up much room.
Honda’s patent applications have revealed a considerable emphasis on light electric vehicle development over the last few years.
While we don’t yet know if vehicles like these will make it off the page and onto the street, it’s hard to deny how much effort Honda is putting into their designs.
Combined with a recent promise to put 10 new electric two-wheelers on the road in the next few years, it looks like the company is playing some serious catch up.
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