Thursday, November 9, 2023

It may be impractical around here, but I want one!


This report made me smile.

What you see is what you get: A $995 electric Honda scooter that can go 12 miles on one charge, hit 15 mph in seven seconds, and fold into a 41-pound suitcase designed for your average trunk.

Weighing only 41 pounds, the Motocompacto is lightweight enough for almost anyone to carry it. It folds into a neat little rectangle with a sturdy Honda-branded carrying strap and a few grab points, making it easy to maneuver and package in and out of trunks and hatchbacks. It’s smaller than most electric scooters and motorcycles when folded, meaning it can fit in more places. It measures just 29.2 inches long, 3.7 inches deep, and 21.1 inches high when folded up.

All said and done, a seasoned Motocompacto veteran can fold and unfold the bike in about 30 seconds in seven steps. When it’s unfolded, it has a deep storage area where the handlebars normally stow, which has enough space for a college textbook or a 12-pack depending on your college lifestyle ... Like a true Honda, it is also front-wheel drive. There are no physical brakes for the front wheel, using just motor braking to slow the front wheel while using a drum brake for the rear ... it has no form of suspension and uses solid rubber tires.

There's more at the link.

I can see this being a perfectly practical runabout for a city dweller who lives in close proximity to work, shopping, entertainment and the like.  They could even carry it on the train or bus with them.  It wouldn't be much use to those who, like me, live in small town America and have to drive a ways to get to a larger city to do most of our shopping.  Nevertheless, it looks like a lot of fun.  I imagine the engineers who designed it had fun, too.

I won't get one, because it simply won't be practical where we live (or, on our budget, affordable).  Nevertheless, it amused me to see it.  Kudos to Honda for a useful, innovative little project that brings a smile to peoples' faces.

Hmmm . . . I wonder . . . if I towed one of those tiny Honda generators behind it, could I recharge it as I drove, and get close to perpetual motion?



Anonymous said...

It's all fun and games till you have a raging lithium fire between your loins.

Anonymous said...

This thing has solid rubber tires and no suspension? Given the state of most of America's streets and sidewalks, that's going to quickly become a pain in the tailbone.

Mark@Bismarck said...

What is the max weight recommended? Pretty sure it would be a problem with me.

D.A. Brock said...

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I would need one for each foot, like roller skates. :-)

Rick T said...

The problem I see is it is neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat in performance. 15 MPH is far too fast to be safe on a sidewalk but too slow to be used anywhere but congested city streets.

Old NFO said...

They'll sell like hotcakes in Japan!

Beans said...

Better are some of the lightweight, high-mobility, folding lithium-powered wheelchairs that are capable of going off-road. Around 50 lbs, some are rated up to over 400 lbs.

4 wheels, heavy duty frame.

Anonymous said...

It would require a license plate and insurance where I live. That's a deal-breaker. Also, it needs a handle and pop-out training wheels so you could pull it like you would your luggage at hotels and airports. But I really like the concept. The Japs are terrific innovators.

Dan said...

That range quoted is under perfect conditions. Half the temperature, throw in any grades and the actual range will be half...if that.

tweell said...

Had to dig a bit for the weight capacity rating - 265lbs. Pretty normal there.

You're paying a premium for the ability to sit down and look different, in my opinion. As the review notes: "practically speaking, the Motocompacto is a little overpriced for the speed and range you get. Any number of $1,000 e-scooters and e-bikes will get you 40 miles and 20 mph."

I'll pass. That seat gets painful quickly with the solid tires and lack of suspension, from what was said: "Yes, the lack of suspension and real tires made the ride quality pretty rough, and the hard seat made for a fairly numb ass in about 15 minutes of riding." I've never been one buy something to look 'cool', either.

Zaphod said...

Civilised people carry a Brompton (*) in their trunk, light plane, yacht for this purpose. It weighs considerably less than this mobility device for the terminally lazy (+). Those of more limited means will find that a Dahon or Tern folder gets the job done too.

I could see this device having some utility for very old people in Japan -- there is a culture and etiquette there for riding politely (imagine this Diversity in vid let loose on one in real life :D) on sidewalks and not mowing down pedestrians. Additionally very limited storage space in Japan and 'outside things which touch the ground' must never go into interior of the house past the Genkan just inside front door -- so something which folds very compactly is just the ticket.

* So-named because the inventor was living across the road from Brompton Oratory during the long years during which he revised, refined, and perfected the design of his folding bicycle.

+ Far better and safer and longer-range options exist for the truly mobility impaired.

Rob said...

12 miles on a charge is the limiting factor, then you have to carry it. I might think about an scooter, I believe they have folding ones so you can put it inside.

TRX said...

Honda has built smaller, lighter, longer-ranged versions of this since at least the 1960s. But they had evil internal combustion engines.

Honda's PR department scored big, though.

Will said...

I think I would go for one of those One Wheel skateboard looking things. Probably the most compact electric motorized mobility items. 40 mile range was what I saw quoted last year. About $800, I think.

I'm amazed at the variety of electric objects I see whizzing around this area.

Couple days ago, I saw an electric UNICYCLE, and he was flat FLYING down the road, maybe 25-35 mph. Since he isn't peddling, his feet are near ground level. it's a very fat tire, so seemed to be stable.

I see lots of different length skateboards. Long ones can have more batteries, and be more stable at high speed.
Lots of various sizes of scooters and bicycles, some three-wheelers. Some are reclining style.

Shared the house with a guy who commuted to a gambling house security gig on a small e-bike last year. He had to do lots of mechanical maintenance on it. Cheap MartWal model, I think. Brakes and the bearings on the pedal assembly were some of the problems. Good thing the motor didn't drive thru the chains.

Will said...

One of the problems with the folding bikes were that they were geared for a flat city environment. Just about worthless, if you had to deal with any kind of hills, with only 3 gears.

Jeff F. said...

Can't see using it in hilly old San Francisco, but my little Honda PCX150 does just fine. And it's an absolute ball to ride. Groceries, etc.