Interesting statement from Honda, arguably the most influential motorcycle and scooter manufacturer in the world. Although the Japanese brand aims to launch 10 more electric motorcycles this decade, they are realistic enough to admit that pure EV bikes will only account for about 15% of global production in 2030.
Honda aims for carbon neutrality by improving the fuel efficiency of its existing two wheelers, as well as launching EV scooters and bikes. This will be good news for specialist insurers and brokers, who need to complete ESG reporting every year. Likewise any increased usage of green parts, or recycled materials in the construction of new machines is likely to be trailblazed by Honda. Again, this ticks the ESG box.
In short a commitment to continue producing ICE machines offers brokers and insurers a stable market.
Here’s an extract from Honda’s statement;
“In order to realize carbon neutrality while accommodating the wide range of customer needs and usage environments unique to motorcycles, Honda continues its initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions from ICE models, while also developing models compatible with carbon neutral fuels such as gasoline-ethanol blends. To be more specific, in addition to Brazil where flex-fuel (E100) motorcycle models are already available, Honda plans to introduce flex-fuel models in India, as well, one of the major motorcycle markets. The plan is to first introduce flex-fuel (E20) models beginning in 2023, and flex-fuel (E100) models in 2025.”
CITY SLICKERS AND SWAPPABLE BATTERIES
Interestingly, Honda sees smaller EV motorcycles and scooters meeting the needs of supercity residents, in terms of delivering a wide range of goods and services.
“As businesses are becoming more environmentally conscious, demand for business-use electric motorcycle models has been on the rise in recent years. To fulfill such demand, Honda has been offering the Honda e: Business Bike series models and accelerating the global launch of business-use electric motorcycles. In addition to providing a Honda e: Business Bike series model to Japan Post and Vietnam Post Corporation for mail delivery, Honda is currently conducting joint trials with Thailand Post Company Limited, and planning to begin production and sales of the Benly e: in Thailand before the end of this month.
These Honda e: Business Bike series models are equipped with Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP) swappable batteries, which are well-suited to business use such as the delivery of small packages and resolve issues of range and charging time, which are key challenges that need to be addressed to realize widespread use of electric motorcycles.”
The infrastructure of swappable battery stations needs to be built from scratch of course. But it has has a smaller footprint and is more efficient in terms of machines charged per hour, than on-steet bays for cars and vans. For crowded European cities ride-in battery stations, where delivery fleets and commuters can swap batteries, can replace petrol stations. But is there political will to accomplish this? Maybe in nations like Spain, France and Italy where every class of person can be rising riding scooters, but in Northern Europe there is still a prejudice, a snobbery towards two-wheeled travellers.
Out of the ten pure electric models Honda has on the drawing board for 2025, the manufacturer says three will be larger `fun’ machines, aimed at the leisure rider.
The electric opportunity for insurance brokers is slowly opening up. EV motorcycles and scooters are going to be mainly smaller, food delivery vehicles. But the leisure EVs will be expensive, circa 20K, attract an older, wealthier rider with a good rider history in terms of claims and behaviour based data from smartphones. New products will need to be built however, the old system of group motorcycles via performance is totally outdated and the rapid acceleration of EVs makes a mockery of that division by bhp, not rider behaviour and usage.
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