Honda's Compact Electric Scooter Undergoes Test Drive
【Summary】Honda has developed a tiny electric scooter called the Motocompacto, inspired by a previous gas-powered model. It folds down to the size of a suitcase and weighs 41 pounds, making it easily portable. With a top speed of 15 mph and a range of 12 miles, it is designed as a last-mile solution for commuters. The scooter costs $995 and can be customized with stickers or paint. The unfolding process may be initially confusing, but with practice, it becomes easier.
I often ride electric kick scooters in New York City, but I rarely get any positive reactions from people. However, when I rode Honda's new Motocompacto, it was a completely different story. Despite its small size, my presence on the scooter drew smiles from passersby. Someone even asked me about its speed.
The Motocompacto was actually born out of an annual Honda design contest. According to Jane Nakagawa, vice president of the research and development unit at American Honda Motor, employees were given the opportunity to propose new products for Honda's lineup. About three years ago, an employee sketched a modern version of the original Motocompo from 1981, which was a small gas-powered scooter add-on that could fit in the trunk of the Honda City subcompact car. When Nick Ziraldo, design engineering manager at Honda R&D Americas, saw the sketch, he decided to bring the concept to life and spearheaded the project.
And so, the Motocompacto was created. It is an electrified version of the original, designed to be as compact as a suitcase. Priced at $995, it has a top speed of 15 miles per hour thanks to its 250-watt motor, and it weighs 41 pounds. With an estimated range of 12 miles, it may not be suitable for a full commute, but it is a convenient last-mile solution that can easily be carried onto public transportation without causing any inconvenience to others.
When folded up, the Motocompacto looks like a plain suitcase. However, Honda intentionally kept the design simple so that users can customize it to their liking. Whether it's adding stickers or painting it, Honda encourages users to personalize their Motocompacto, just like people do with reusable water bottles.
The process of unfolding the Motocompacto may seem daunting at first. It involves releasing latches, extending the wheels, raising the handlebar, and performing various maneuvers to convert it into riding mode. While it took me some time to figure it out and I needed assistance, the Honda spokesperson assured me that with practice, it becomes easy. Additionally, the scooter is equipped with sensors that detect any unfolding issues and prevent it from moving if not properly unfolded.
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