The Cub and all its subsequent variants did a lot to propel Honda into the mainstream of two-wheeled transportation in the ’70s. The now-iconic advertising campaign “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” was centered around the Cub. The all-too-catchy Beach Boys song “Little Honda” was also inspired by the venerable Cub. Yet for all its storied history and more than 60 Million units produced (the most produced vehicle in history, by the way), lately Honda has been letting the Cub inspire a number of concept bikes.
The latest is an electric Cub concept that’s been teased ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show. With electric two wheelers very much a market reality now, Honda has an opportunity to shape where production-quality electric scooters and small motorcycles could go in the near future. This electric Cub concept definitely seems like a step in that direction.
Yet the challenge isn’t in making the concept. Building one bike is easy. Building 100,000 bikes is hard. Yet as battery technology continues to follow Moore’s Law, it’s real world products like this that could help drive adoption of electric vehicles, especially as more than 50% of people now live in urban environments. The case for a small EV like this gets easier and easier to make, especially as component costs continue to drop.
In looking at these preliminary photos, Honda appear to have gotten two key things very right. The first is the placement and seeming modularity of the battery system. The tip-out drawer would imply that perhaps the battery system is hot-swappable, and its location at the bottom of the vehicle will aid in handling thanks to keeping the weight of the bike low.
The second is the overall attractive packaging of this electric Cub concept. It pays solid homage to the Cub of yore, but with a real injection of modern style. To my eyes, it looks like something most anyone would be proud to own. It’s streamlined, sleek, but still approachable.
The last key detail teased in this electric Cub concept is the all-digital gauge cluster. Given the ubiquity of screens the world over, we wouldn’t be surprised if this display also had some touch-enabled features. It reminds us of the display on the Gogoro electric scooter, which unlike this concept Honda, is already taking pre-orders in Taiwan. Gogoro aspires to build an entire EV ecosystem with its interchangeable battery system, but perhaps Honda is thinking along the same lines in this concept.
All that said, this isn’t the first electric cub concept with which Honda has teased the marketplace. Back in 2009, they teased this concept:
Look familiar? So don’t get too excited just yet. Honda loves to trot the Cub out as a concept platform because people love the simple lines and nostalgic overtones. Don’t believe me? Honda teased yet another Cub concept back in 2013, the Cross Cub, which we shared here on ScooterFile.
What do you think? Which flavor of Cub vaporware has you the most intrigued?