New Bikes

Hybrid 'Wing in the wings?

Further Goldwing patent reveals the scope for hybrid technology

MORE patent action from Honda – this time showing a strange Goldwing-based petrol-electric hybrid concept.

Clearly derived directly from the existing Goldwing, the hybrid has a bespoke flat four-cylinder engine rather than the usual flat six, and where the front pair of cylinders used to sit there's a hefty electric motor that doubles as a generator – basically a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System).

OK, just because Honda has patented the idea doesn't mean it's heading for production; we'd bet this never shows up in your local Honda dealer in quite this form, but something with similar technology could. The real key is the Goldwing-style engine position, with the crankshaft arranged longitudinally, since it means the bulky electric motor can be added to the end of the crank without increasing the bike's width. On a transverse-engined bike, this arrangement wouldn't work.

If it seems odd to add hybrid power to the biggest, heaviest and most expensive model in the range, just look at the current trend for battery-assisted hybrid versions of massive 4x4s – it seems even people who have money to burn don't like spending too much of it on petrol...

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