Electric Scooter Concepts at 2011 Tokyo Show

December 8, 2011
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Another season of bike shows means another round of concept bikes. As usual the OEMs trotted out some electric rides alongside the traditional ICE eye-candy, and the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show was no different. This year’s Tokyo Show had three of the Big Four display an electric scoot, along with an EV mount from KYMCO. Here’s a recap of Tokyo’s electric scoots:

Honda Motor Compo and E-Canopy

Honda Motor Compo - 2011 Tokyo Motor Show The E-Canopy is a three-wheeled EV design from Honda - 2011 Tokyo Motor Show
The Motor Compo and E-Canopy look more like personal mobility aides than true streetworthy the electric rides.

This year at Tokyo Honda released a trio of electric concepts. Teasing its Tokyo rides weeks before the show, the RC-E racebike generated by far the most buzz. It’s the most visually tantalizing, maybe the most exciting OEM electric concept to date. However, no details are forthcoming of the RC-E specs, and the show revealed no word on its ultimate plans. (Didn’t Big Red know everyone wanted a bold claim that it would send its RC-E to Isle of Man to contest the 2012 TT Zero – shattering the electric lap record, which still hasn’t broached the 100 mph barrier?)

That leaves the Motor Compo and E-Canopy, which look more like personal mobility devices than road worthy electric scooters. What can be said about the Compo? Well, for starters it appears that R2-D2 had a torrid affair with the Honda Monkey. Small and compact, the Motor Compo is designed to fit inside the company’s Micro Commuter Concept (an accompanying four-wheeled concept revealed at the Tokyo Show). The Motor Compo also features a detachable battery.

The E-Canopy is a three-wheeled EV design. Described as a “next-generation commuter” the electric trike derives its name from the long bubble screen which stretches above the riders head. Honda explains the two-in-back, single front design can also be sourced as a delivery mount with a rear trunk built in (with three-wheeled delivery scoots a common sight in Tokyo). Honda already has a production EV scooter in its EV-neo, which it leases to businesses in its domestic market.

Yamaha EC-Miu

Yamaha EC-Miu - 2011 Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha’s Tokyo EV ride, the EC-Miu, is pure concept…

Yamaha’s Tokyo EV concept is the EC-Miu, which it pitches as an electric urban commuter. The little three-wheeled design is long on futurist styling, but lists zero specs. The tuning fork brand claims its electric creation resides in the 50cc performance range, with PR speak explaining further: “It is designed in the image of the flow of wind with a compact size that makes it a breeze to handle. It’s an “easy on me and easy on the environment” vehicle that will be perfect for those little daily errands around town.”

Looks like eco concept fluff not production worthy to us. More important EV news from Yamaha is the company continues to list its EC-03 electric scooter as a production vehicle on its show exhibition list (the EC-03 having debuted at the 2009 Tokyo Show as a concept scooter). The EC-03 is rival to Honda’s EV-neo, introduced as a 2011 production model for the European market last year.

Suzuki e-Let’s

Suzuki e-Lets - 2011 Tokyo Motor Show
The Suzuki e-Let’s: Perfect for trips to the laundromat.

Of all the Tokyo concepts, Suzuki’s e-Let’s scooter appears the most primed for production. The company is currently road testing this EV design in its home city of Hamamatsu, where the data will be used to “move further toward production.” The e-Let’s is a lithium-ion powered ride, which can be recharged via 100V outlet. Performance is modest, sporting the 30 km/30kmph range and speed limitations familiar from previous EV concepts (that works out to 18.6 miles/mph).

The low top speed reduces practical functionality to dense urban errand runner. And as far as the styling goes… Forget the bizarre R2-D2/Honda Monkey fling, it’s the e-Lets’ unnatural mating of milk crate and laundry basket up front that really boggles the mind. Still, production chances seem likely, especially considering Honda and Yamaha are already in the EV scooter game.


KYMCO showcased this model of the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
Not sure what to call it, but the KYMCO EV scooter on display at Tokyo looks like a viable production design.

We couldn’t find any hard info from KYMCO on its EV submission to the Tokyo Show. Even the name escapes us at the moment (still awaiting official word). The EV scooter is listed as the LKJ1 3kw in the Tokyo Motor Show press materials, but has ‘Queen 3-0 ev’ brandished on its side.

KYMCO released a previous EV concept, the Sunboy, at the 2008 Milan bike show, but this isn’t similar to that design. This latest KYMCO EV model looks more dowdy and conventional, which probably means it’s got real shot at production reality. Details are still forthcoming, but wouldn’t it be cheeky if the Taiwan-based scooter/ATV manufacturer beats the Japanese to the punch with an EV mount here in the U.S. market?

Updates expected. Keep checking back.