Honda revs up electric motorbike

Honda Motor plans to sell 3.5 million electric motorbikes by 2030, as the world’s top-selling motorbike maker overhauls its product range to meet demand for more eco-friendly products.

The Japanese company said on Tuesday that electric motorbikes would make up 15% of annual global sales by the end of the decade.

It is the first time Honda, which has already said its car business will go all-electric, has given specific volume or regional forecasts for its motorcycle electrification strategy.

Currently, Honda sells fewer than 200,000 electric motorbikes annually.

Honda will introduce more than 10 electric models worldwide by 2025, including two electric compact commuter models in Asia, Europe and Japan. It will also sell three larger electric motorcycles — which the company calls Fun EV models — for the U.S., Japan and Europe by 2025.

Honda’s Executive Vice President Kohei Takeuchi said, “Despite [remaining] difficulties in achieving carbon neutrality, we will continue to maintain our position as the world’s leading manufacturer.”

The company has already declared that all its cars will be electric by 2040. It will invest $40 billion in the development of EVs over the next decade and plans to release 30 EV models by 2030.

Motorcycles are viewed as difficult to shift towards an all-electric range because their use is more widespread in emerging markets, where income levels are lower and electric recharging infrastructure is less developed. However, Takeuchi said, “We can apply the technology we have developed for cars to motorcycles as well.”

Specifically, he said Honda intends to install all-solid-state batteries, which are under development for EVs, in electric motorcycles in the latter half of the 2020s.

All-solid-state batteries are designed to increase driving range. In addition to being flame-resistant and safe, they are expected to be smaller and lighter than lithium-ion batteries.

Honda has been developing all-solid-state batteries as a way of improving the performance of its EVs. The company plans to launch a pilot production line in Japan’s Tochigi prefecture in spring 2024.

Batteries are likely to increase cost pressure for electric motorcycles. Honda’s Managing Officer Yoshishige Nomura did not provide details on pricing but said that large electric motorcycles “will not be priced the same as similar models already on the market.”

Honda also plans to capitalize on the growing popularity of electric bicycles, especially in China, by launching several models. E-bicycles are limited to a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour.