It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Honda has announced production of the PCX Hybrid it showed at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show (TMS) last October, but it is. Honda often turns TMS concepts into production vehicles within a year if the public response is positive.
Unlike hybrid cars though, particularly hybrid sports cars, hybrid motorcycles have been met by an unusually tepid response from the motorcycle industry of developed countries.
It is a vastly different environment in the world’s most populous developing nations though, where scooters are the family car. Scooters are cheap to buy, handle better than motorcycles at city speeds, stop quicker, use less gas, and they get everywhere just as quick as a motorcycle. The vast majority of the two wheeled vehicles on the world’s roads are scooters, despite their near absence from American roads.
Hybrid motorcycles have been on the agenda of the world’s leading motorcycle manufacturers for more than a decade, but very little has been achieved. That was another pointer to the Tokyo Motor Show PCX Hybrid being a no-show, at least for a very long time.
The first hybrid motorcycle we saw was at Tokyo 13 years ago when Yamaha displayed the Gen Ryu (above top left) at Tokyo in 2005. Patents were applied for, and there was some serious talk about releasing the bike in 2009, but nothing more eventuated, though there were some further technological developments displayed behind glass cases on the Yamaha stand in 2009. Yamaha apparently shelved the project near completion thanks to the Global Financial Crisis.
Honda’s only hybrid motorcycle concept to be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show was the tilting three-wheeler NeoWing of 2015. Based loosely on the Gold Wing with at least two additional electric motors added to the drive train, it too didn’t appear again. At top right and bottom left are two recent hybrid concepts shown by French company Furion, and Indian company TVS, with the latter using a similar drive train to the Honda PCX Hybrid, and the Furion based around a twin Wankel engine with some serious innovation thrown in.
Piaggio managed to get a hybrid version of its three-wheeled scooter into production in 2010, but it cost so much that it didn’t sell, wasn’t even exported to most countries, and was soon dropped from the range.
Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki have all been lodging patent applications for a decade relating to hybrid technology for motorcycles, but motorcycles get great fuel consumption and offer low emissions anyway. Why make them more complex and expensive?
Source : Newatlas