New Bikes

Honda and Hitachi tie-up on electric plans

Big-name joint venture to develop electric motors

BACK in February Honda and electronics giant Hitachi announced plans to create an electric vehicle joint venture. Now those plans have come to fruition with the creation of Hitachi Automotive Electric Motor Systems.

The new company is intended to develop and build electric vehicle motors and other hardware, not only for Honda but also to sell to other manufacturers. The new company is jointly owned, with Hitachi Automotive Systems owning 51% and Honda taking a 49% stake. In total, the two owners have contributed 5 billion yen (£34 million) to set up the firm.

Honda has already confirmed that it will have electric bikes in production next year, as well as a growing range of electric cars. The first electric bike will be the EV-Cub, which has been shown in concept bike form twice already – first in 2009 and again, with some modifications to make it more production-ready, in 2015.

The fact that it’s taken nine years for the EV-Cub to proceed from concept to production gives a glimmer of hope for the future of the 2011 Honda RC-E concept (pictured). By far the most interesting-looking electric bike to emerge from Japan so far, some of the RC-E’s ideas have since been carried over to the Mugen Shinden racers that have dominated the TT Zero in recent years. Originally shown two years after the EV-Cub, maybe the latest development means we can expect a production RC-E sometime around 2020…

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