Soichiro Honda himself is no more, but the spirit of innovation and invention continues at Honda. After 60 years of making motorcycles powered by the IC engine, Honda will start making electric bikes in 2010. Bring on the next 60 years, and the battery-powered Fireblade...!
With dozens of small-scale manufacturers already building electric bikes all over the world, the big companies had to get in on the action sooner or later. And in the case of Honda, it’s going to happen by 2010.
‘Honda is currently developing a battery-powered electric motorcycle which emits no CO2 during operation. The company is aiming to introduce this electric motorcycle to the market about in two years from now,’ says Takeo Fukui, Chairman and CEO – Honda Motor Co. ‘History shows that motorcycles remain strong in a difficult market environment and have always supported Honda in difficult times,’ he adds.
Honda have, in fact, tied up with GS Yuasa Corp. for the development of high-performance lithium-ion batteries for its electric motorcycles. The two companies will jointly set up a research and development centre, and a battery manufacturing facility, near Kyoto in Japan.
The Honda-GS Yuasa joint venture company is being set up at an investment of around US$ 18.5 million, with Honda holding a 49% stake in the company, and the rest being held by GS Yuasa.