Honda Unleashes Hybrid Motorcycle to Challenge Kawasaki’s EV Supremacy

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Hybrid powertrains have increasingly gained traction within the motorcycle community, presenting a compelling blend of traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) and electric vehicles (EV). 

Honda Unleashes Hybrid Motorcycle to Challenge Kawasaki's EV Supremacy

These powertrains tackle the prominent issue of range anxiety associated with full electric motorcycles, striking a balance between fuel efficiency and power. 

As of now, the motorcycle market is yet to see a hybrid offering, with Kawasaki being the only brand recently expressing interest.

However, the landscape might be changing, as Honda has now made its move. Recent patent filings indicate that Honda is working on a motorcycle equipped with both an engine and an electric motor. Some of the aspects outlined in these patents are innovative and insightful.

The patents showcase Honda’s unique approach to the hybrid system. They detail a motorcycle featuring a multi-cylinder internal combustion engine combined with not one, but two distinct brushless electric motors. With this setup, riders can select from three operational modes:

Honda Unleashes Hybrid Motorcycle to Challenge Kawasaki's EV Supremacy

1. Using only the internal combustion engine.

2. Combining the engine with both electric motors.

3. Running entirely on electric power.

Furthermore, Honda’s patent delves into a distinctive dual battery system. As one battery provides power, the other functions as a generator, converting mechanical energy back into electricity. 

This innovative system can potentially enhance the motorcycle’s range, possibly allowing for a smaller, lighter battery. 

This is crucial, as one of the significant drawbacks of electric motorcycles is the substantial weight added by large battery packs.

Additional features revealed in the patent include a continuously variable transmission coupled with a chassis derived from the Honda NC750X

The bike will also be equipped with a Power Control Unit (PCU) that facilitates switching between the various power modes. 

However, the patent documents do not provide clear insights into the bike’s design or its foundational model. 

Honda Unleashes Hybrid Motorcycle to Challenge Kawasaki's EV Supremacy

Although the chassis gives a clue, it’s unlikely that Honda’s inaugural hybrid motorcycle will be a mid-weight touring bike. A cautious, incremental approach seems probable.

While the patent filings offer intriguing insights, it’s crucial to temper expectations. As of now, Honda has remained relatively silent about their hybrid motorcycle plans, and these patents don’t guarantee an imminent product launch. 

For context, Honda’s prior venture into hybrid two-wheelers, the 2018 Honda PCX scooter, was limited to specific markets and didn’t garner significant success. 

It remains to be seen if this upcoming hybrid motorcycle will chart a different course. In comparison, Kawasaki’s hybrid offering, the HEV, is slated for a 2024 release.

Is there an official name announced? 

Not yet. However, given the intricate design outlined in the blueprints, “High-Maintenance” might be a fitting placeholder for now.

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