Honda's electric superbike shown - but wrapped in secrecy (or apathy?)


November 30, 2011

Honda's RCE

Honda's RCE

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One of the disappointments of the Tokyo Motor Show which opened today was the lack of information on many of the concepts on show, and in particular, Honda's much awaited first real electric motorcycle. Up close, it looks like the real deal, but not one scrap of information was available on even the specifications. Honda wasn't the only culprit but with its extraordinary technology, we were expecting more.

Indeed, it appears as if the manufacturers have come to some sort of private agreement on how much effort will go into the show, just as they did in 2009 when the show was almost aborted due to the Global Financial Crisis, but went ahead with many exhibits significantly cut back in scale and effort.

This year there have again been significant problems in Japan, with the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear radiation problems, but the show in general is only a shadow of what it once was. Four years ago the Tokyo Motor Show was a powerhouse of automotive technological innovation demonstrating Japan's world-leading mastery of the automotive arts and sciences.

Showing concept bikes and cars with little or no additional information beyond the initial promotional press release is not doing the Japanese Automotive Industry any favours. This year the Tokyo Motor Show and the country's consumer electronics equivalent, CEATEC, joined forces to promote each other and Japanese technological prowess.

It seems like the abysmally poor presentation of information (no information available in English) which has characterized CEATEC and kept it as a sideshow on the expo circuit (when it shouldn't be) seems to have rubbed off on the automotive industry too.

Good luck to the Japanese automotive industry - what was once a showcase of expertise to the world appears to be in significant demise.

As for Honda, just when are we likely to see something more than a mock-up for its electric motorcycles? China is selling millions of electric scooters and motorcycles every year, yet we've seen little from the world's supposedly foremost motorcycle manufacturer other than promises.

Faced with exactly the same threats from Japan, the British Motorcycle Industry also buried its head in the sand. History has a funny way of repeating itself.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon


How ironic- the right lower link was an article \"Honda to market electric motorcycle by 2010\".

Of course, I fully sympathize with the tsunami distaster but that was after 2010, after all.


Perhaps Honda figured out that EV with good performance have pathetic range, and those with good range have pathetic performance.

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