Honda Motor Co. plans to release a small, scooter-type electric motorbike called the EV-neo, which it will begin leasing in Japan in December, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The company says it has no plans to sell the bike at the moment.
Honda first leased electric motorcycles 16 years ago in small numbers, rolling out only 200 bikes over three years, according to the report. This latest incarnation uses a lithium-ion battery with double the power density of the nickel-cadmium battery used in the earlier model.
Honda says it is uncertain whether its electric motorbike operations can be commercialized on a large scale, although the EV-neo’s electric motor shares key parts with Honda's Insight hybrid car, which helps cut costs.
Separately, Yamaha Motor Co. says it also plans to roll out a new electric motorbike this summer. Yamaha hasn’t said whether it will sell or lease the bike.