Honda has become the latest manufacturer to confirm that it is actively developing an electric-powered motorcycle and could have it on sale in some parts of the world as early as mid-2010. The zero-emissions bike program, which Honda Motor Company CEO Takeo Fukui touched upon in his annual year-end speech last month, will likely see the first models be launched in Asia and South America where travel distances are frequently shorter and commuters already are more inclined to favor two-wheel transport. While the project is already well along, Honda has not released any specific details about the actual components that will be used. However, Lithium-ion batteries are almost certain to be part of the techno equation. No formal word on the kind of performance and projected range of this new EV cycle either, but speculation tends to focus on acceleration numbers typical of a 50cc gasoline-engine bike and at least a 30-mile charge-to-recharge interval. Yamaha and Kawasaki also have announced plans to launch their own electric-powered bikes in roughly the same time window.
Those unwilling to wait for any of these Japanese offerings can look to a U.S. boutique maker, Brammo Motorsports of Ashland, Oregon. In late 2008, Brammo began selling its own slick-looking electric bike called the Enertia. Priced in the $12,000-$15,000 range, the Enertia uses advanced Lithium-Phosphate batteries that can be recharged in 2-3 hours, deliver a 35-45-mile range, and give the bike a top speed in excess of 50 mph.