Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Honda MC-β Mini Electric Vehicle Showing at Tokyo Motor Show

By Benji Jerew
This year’s Tokyo Motor Show promises to have some of the most advanced ideas in electric vehicles, including how they fit into future smart-homes.
For example, not every electric vehicle needs to have range of up to 300 miles, such as that provided by the Tesla Model S. After all, as more people move into cities, the less they’d need such range. Range in electric vehicles is most directly dictated by the size of the battery pack, which is expensive. Offering short-range electric vehicles, such as the Honda Micro Commuter MC-α at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, cuts down on costs, making clean electric vehicles much more affordable.
This year, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda will be showing off an autonomous version of the MC-α, as well as an updated version, which will be called Honda MC-β. The mini electric vehicle offers 1+1 seating, similar to the Renault Twizy as well as a swappable rear seat to accommodate two children, perfect for the busy family man [or woman] to drop the kids off at school on the way to work. The Honda MC-β’s 15kW electric motor can power the vehicle up to 50mph for a maximum range up to 37 miles. Considering that the average American driver drives less than 30 miles per day, this is actually perfect for about 95% of the driving, in a much smaller package.
How does the Honda MC-β fit into the future home? At the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda, Toshiba, and Sekisui will put together a smart-home demonstration, including renewable energy balanced by the lithium-ion battery pack in the MC-β and the hydrogen fuel cell in the FCX Clarity. The result is a clean-energy, reliable home, that has less of an environmental impact without sacrificing mobility.