I know that urban and city cars are getting to be all the rage, and electric cars could well be the future (unlike garlic bread) but are plans unveiled recently by Honda just a step too far?
What they are looking at is what they have termed ‘the Micro Commuter Prototype, a micro-sized short distance EV commuter.’ This is actually so new that plans have only just been drawn up and being discussed in Japan the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism but there are plans to possibly introduce it to Europe too.
With a prototype model already produced for testing due to start next year, what it is looking at is how to transport passengers of a young age (children) and a driver short distances in the quickest time with the added benefit of zero emissions – pretty much translating to being aimed everyday short-distance commuting, families with small children, senior citizens, home delivery services, commuting and car sharing.
It is actually an advancement on the previous incarnation of the Micro Commuter Concept first introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show 2011, but it has been changed to allow cabin space for a driver and two children (or with a seat change; 1 adult) in the micro-sized body.
The battery, motor and control unit all fit under the floor and in the back so that the driver can concentrate on driving, but be aware that there will not be too much space in there. By the sounds of it Peter Crouch won’t be in the queue for one and I certainly don’t think Audley Harrison will be either – or Russell Grant.
Meter display, navigation, audio and back-up camera display are all available on a tablet-sized display, and there are solar panels mounted onto the roof that will help charge the battery – besides the (not so) age-old tradition of using a plug.
Maximum range of the car is estimated at 60km on a full charge – taking around 3 hours – and the top speed is 80km/h; but as anyone who has ever driven in Japan in rush hour will know that that speed isn’t even touched!
Sounds a bit like an electric rickshaw to me, but we can wait and see.