Honda to begin real world testing of Micro Commuter EV
Honda's Micro Commuter Prototype β electric car
When Honda first unveiled its Micro Commuter Concept EV a couple of years ago, there were likely many people who doubted that the futuristic little car would ever be seen anywhere other than auto shows. Last week, however, Honda announced that it will begin field-testing an unspecified number of the MCC's successors later this year.
Testing will be conducted in collaboration with the Japanese city of Saitama. The city council had previously submitted a proposal to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, which was “publicly seeking projects to promote the introduction of micro-sized mobility.” That proposal was accepted by the group on June 28th, with the field testing set to commence in Saitama this fall (Northern Hemisphere).
Now known as the Micro Commuter Prototype β, the current version of the car isn’t quite as radically styled as the original concept vehicle. It still retains most of the key features, however. Among these is the Variable Design Platform, which maximizes interior space by locating the battery, motor and control unit under the floor and in the rear of the car. This arrangement also allows for various vehicle bodies to be swapped onto a single base platform. The new prototype also incorporates the original adaptable seating system, which can accommodate either two adults or (by changing out the back seat) one adult driver and two children.
Honda's original Micro Commuter Concept
Not much is available in the way of specs, although it is known that the Prototype β weighs less than 400 kg (882 lb), measures 100 inches long by 49 inches wide (254 x 124.5 cm), and its motor produces 15 kW of power. It has a top speed of 50 mph (80.5 km/h), and a range of 60 miles (96.5 km) per charge.
Among other things, the field tests will be looking at how micro EVs could be used for short-distance daily transportation of senior citizens, car-sharing programs, and families with children, along with the ways in which the local infrastructure could facilitate these uses. Additionally, the tests will include a demonstration of the Honda Smart Home System, in which an electric vehicle’s battery is used to power the home when the vehicle is parked.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
Yes, it is pretty.
Realistically though, all those flared wheel arches and sloped roofs don't associate with the most efficient use of internal space. Especially if this is angling for efficiency
There is a reason K cars in Japan are literally box shaped with a wheel tucked in each corner.
Aerodynamics don't count for much in slow city commutes with frequent stop and go.
I would like to see this design being applied to a brick with lots of large windows. ie - less panel, more glass, and give it a full panoramic roof so it feels open and roomy.
If they are so hell bent on hiding the wheels they can even do that, though you would still have to direct airflow onto the wheel hub and brake assembly to prevent early failure due to overheating.
doesn't look like it would withstand rough roads at all.
i'm 6' 5" and doubt that i could get into one.
60 mile range might work for japan and our eastern seaboard, but it won't work for most of western usa. i used to drive 22 miles to work x 2 = 44 miles and would run out of charge just going to a grocery store and one other store. now i live an hour drive to the nearest store (35 miles on bad, curvy roads). that is even worse.
i'll take the best equivalent of a Tesla at a price i can afford; thank you!
if it had air conditioning and sold for around $5,000 It would be great here in suburban NJ as a second or third family vehicle but existing regulations would classify it as a a car meaning it would need a full compliment of safety systems which would drive up its cost and weight to impossible levels.
Mercedes Compact Car (MCC), aka Swatch Mercedes Art (Smart) reborn! ;-)
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