UPDATE: Honda says the EV plan is aimed at automobiles, with bikes not included in the 100 percent electrification goal. See the update here.
Big Red has Big Plans. On April 23, Honda Canada announced the company’s master plan for the future: “Honda is targeting sales of 100% zero emission electrified vehicles in North America by 2040.” Although this doesn’t include all motorcycles, Honda does say it’s planning to increase its EV scooter offerings by 2024, with three new models on the market then equivalent to 50-125 cc scooters.
The announcement came on Earth Day, but Honda’s goal of going green wasn’t the only promise. Honda’s press release also said it’s working on “application of connected safety technologies toward the realization of … zero traffic collision fatalities.” Honda doesn’t just want to save the world, it wants to make it the roads safer.
The press release followed remarks from Honda big boss Toshihiro Mibe, and before you say “Oh—that’s just for cars,” think again. According to the release, “Honda is formalizing its goals for achieving carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities by 2050, as well as zero traffic collision fatalities involving Honda automobiles and motorcycles globally by 2050.”
As part of the plan, Honda says it will “add omnidirectional ADAS (advanced driver-assistance system) to Honda Sensing™ technologies, to all new automobile models by 2030, striving for zero auto and motorcycle collision fatalities involving Honda products globally by 2050.”
This should not come as a massive surprise, as we’ve seen the roots of this tech revolution over the past decade. Increasingly, cars and now motorcycles are packed with collision-avoidance technology, with sensor arrays that predict danger and autopilots and braking systems that direct vehicles away from trouble. And, regulations are following close behind. In the EU, ABS is now mandatory on basically all new motorcycles.
The same goes for the EV revolution. Electric cars are making an ever-higher percentage of new vehicle sales, and motorcycle manufacturers have been working on electric motorcycles for about a decade now. The big OEMs from Japan and Europe haven’t released an onslaught of battery bikes, just a scooter here, a trials bike there, or an offroader. However, they’ve all been hyping up their EV research for years, and despite the challenges they’ve faced, we’d expect a payoff in the future, as battery technology improves.
Honda’s press release also says the company will use hydrogen fuel cell tech as a big part of its green future. This could hold some promise for motorcycling, along with Honda’s research into solid state batteries, so we’ll have to stay tuned on this.