Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and the City of Saitama in Saitama Prefecture, Japan today began discussion of field tests of the Micro Commuter Prototype β, Honda’s micro-sized EV model. The testing will begin this fall, to be conducted jointly with the City of Saitama. Saitama City’s council for promoting the use of micro-sized electric mobility products submitted the application to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) that was publicly seeking projects to promote the introduction of micro-sized mobility. The MLIT adopted this project on June 28, 2013.
Through this testing project conducted within the City of Saitama, Honda and the City will study usage patterns and needs of micro-sized mobility products as part of a social system, to solve the various transportation-related issues, especially in urban areas. The testing project will particularly study the potential of a micro-sized EV in various uses including assisting the short-distance daily transportation of senior citizens and car-sharing for commuting and commercial purposes. In addition, the value of a micro-sized EV for child-raising families will also be studied.
Moreover, collaborating with the ongoing E-KIZUNA Project*1 which includes demonstration testing of Honda Smart Home System (HSHS), the value of a micro-sized EV as a household battery will be studied. Furthermore, as well as issues related to city planning including infrastructure for each environment will be studied.
As per previous announcements, Honda has signed comprehensive agreements with Kumamoto Prefecture and Miyakojima City in Okinawa Prefecture respectively to conduct field tests, and details are currently being discussed. Adding the City of Saitama, Honda will work together sequentially from this fall with these three local governments to conduct projects that accommodate the uniqueness of each region.
The Micro Commuter Prototype β is a micro-sized short-distance transportation EV developed in consideration of the vehicle categories for micro-sized mobility products that are currently being discussed under the initiative of the MLIT in Japan, as well as for regulations for the L7 category*2 in Europe.
The adoption of the Variable Design Platform enabled to locate key components such as the battery, motor and control unit under the floor and in the rear space to concentrate the vehicle driving functions into a compact space. This made it comparatively easier to develop and produce different body and interior types which accommodate various uses and needs of customer than existing vehicles. For this testing, Honda will provide two-occupant (one driver/one passenger) models*3.
Striving to continue proposing next-generation mobility products, which expand the joy and fun of mobility while minimizing the environmental footprint as well as the most suitable city plans for each community, Honda will remain committed to proactive research and development of such technologies and products.
*1 E-KIZUNA Project is managed by the City of Saitama in collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders. The project aims to help prevent global warming and to realize a sustainable, low-carbon society through the popularization of electric vehicles. (In Japanese, kizuna means the ties that connect people to each other.) Honda signed an agreement for participation in May 2011.
*2 One of the motorcycle categories in Europe. An EV in this category must weigh 400 kg or less excluding the weight of the battery and have output of 15 kW or less.
*3 By changing the rear seat, it is possible to seat one driver and two children.