In a bid to rekindle the spirit of an iconic concept from the past, Honda has unveiled its latest innovation, the Motocompacto.
- The original Honda Motocompo faced an abrupt discontinuation four decades ago.
- Honda’s new offering seeks to redefine urban commuting with its portable and foldable design.
The Motocompo, originally introduced in the 1980s, experienced a brief two-year production run before falling short of sales expectations. However, the idea of a compact, foldable motorcycle designed for the last leg of a commute has remained intriguing. Honda now introduces the “Motocompacto” – a modern-day revival of this concept.
Last year, Honda unveiled its plans for an electric-powered Motocompacto, and now, the bike has been officially introduced to the market. This compact electric vehicle will be available at Honda dealerships worldwide beginning November.
While the Motocompacto does not boast impressive performance metrics or extensive range, it serves its purpose as a last-mile commuting solution. With a range of just 20 kilometres on a full charge and a top speed of 24km/h, the Motocompacto falls into the same category as stand-up electric scooters, eliminating the need for licenses or registration.
The Motocompacto’s design is reminiscent of a product Apple might produce—a sleek, white, briefcase-shaped box that can quickly transform into a rideable vehicle. The handlebars fold out from the top and are adjustable in height. The seat, cleverly stored inside the bike when folded, securely clips into place on the rear. Additionally, the footpegs and sidestand fold out, while the rear wheel slides backward to extend the wheelbase.
One notable aspect of the Motocompacto’s design is its front-wheel-drive system, powered by a hub-mounted electric motor. The rear end of the bike is solely responsible for braking via a cable-operated drum. The electric motor produces a peak output of 490W and 16Nm of torque.
Charging the Motocompacto is a straightforward process, as it can be replenished using a standard household socket. The 6.8Ah battery charges fully in just 3.5 hours, with the charger conveniently stored within the vehicle, accessible via a port located just below the compact headlight. A dedicated smartphone app provides users with essential information, such as battery status, route planning, and customizable settings.
While the Motocompacto may not match the performance and range of its 1980s predecessor, it successfully addresses the issues that led to the original Motocompo’s discontinuation.
Unlike the original, which was large and heavy at 45kg pounds and 1168mm in length, the Motocompacto is compact, lightweight, and electric-powered, making it suitable for vertical or horizontal storage without the risk of leakage.
When folded, it measures a mere 54cm by 74.1cm and is just 9cm wide, allowing for easy stacking and storage. Moreover, it weighs only 19kg, making it highly maneouverable. The Motocompacto simplifies controls, eliminating the need for gears or a clutch, with just a thumb throttle and a single brake lever.
Interestingly, the Motocompacto’s distribution strategy sets it apart. Instead of traditional motorcycle dealerships, it will be available at car dealerships, aligning with Honda’s original Motocompo concept, which was introduced alongside the Honda City car in Japan.
Jane Nakagawa, Vice President of the R&D Business Unit at American Honda Motor Co. Inc., shared her insights, stating, “Motocompacto is uniquely Honda: a fun, innovative, and unexpected facet of our larger electrification strategy. Sold in conjunction with our new all-electric SUVs, Motocompacto supports our goal of carbon neutrality by helping customers with end-to-end zero-emissions transport.”