Honda today unveiled the Micro-Commuter Prototype, a micro-sized short distance EV commuter. It has been developed in consideration of the vehicle categories for micro-sized mobility products that are currently being discussed under the initiative of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan as well as for the regulations for the L7 category in Europe.
Using vehicles based on this prototype model, Honda will begin demonstration testing in Japan in 2013. This will verify the potential of the vehicle in various uses including supporting everyday short-distance transportation for families with small children and for senior citizens, home delivery services, commuting and car sharing.
Advancing the Micro-Commuter Concept that was first introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show 2011, this micro-sized prototype features a cabin space to seat the driver and two children.
The adoption of the Variable Design Platform enables components – such as the battery, motor and control unit – to be positioned under the floor and in the rear of the car, concentrating the vehicle driving functions into a compact space. This made it comparatively easier to develop and produce a body and interior that accommodates various uses and customers’ needs than what is found in existing vehicles, Honda says.
Other features of this model include the use of a user-owned tablet device for the application of functions such as meter display, navigation, audio and back-up camera display, and the ability to charge the battery of the tablet using solar cells mounted on the vehicle roof.
Honda says it is continuing research of onboard solar cells to provide energy to assist the drive motors. The company is also planning to verify the CO2 reduction effect from the optimized energy management in everyday life and the values this vehicle can provide for customers when it is used not only as an EV but also as a household battery through collaboration with the Honda Smart Home System (HSHS), which has already begun testing in the city of Saitama, Japan.