Honda has released new details about the EV-neo.
Like recent concepts from Smart, MINI and Volkswagen, the EV-neo is an electric scooter that was designed to improve mobility in large, urban cities. The model features a 72V lithium-ion battery which sends power to an electric motor that develops 3.8 PS (2.8 kW / 3.8 hp) and 11 Nm (8 lb-ft) of torque. This enables the 110 kg (243 lb) EV-neo to travel up to 34 km (21 miles) on a single charge.
When the battery is depleted, it can be fully recharged in 3.5 hours with the standard charger (which resides underneath the seat) or 30 minutes with the rapid charger.
Other highlights include a digital instrument cluster, 12-inch tubeless tires and a new Combi Braking system which engages both brakes (front and rear) when the left braking lever is activated.
While the scooter is already available in Japan, Honda has recently announced plans to launch a new test program in Barcelona, Spain. Details are limited, but the company will give the city council 18 EV-neos, for one year, to gather feedback about performance and user behavior.
Check out the press release below for additional information
Honda pioneered the electric motorcycle segment in 1994, when the company leased 200 CUV-ES electric scooters to national and local government agencies in Japan. Now Honda presents EV-neo electric scooter.
Lease sales of the EV-neo started in Japan in April 2011 with Honda expecting to sell approximately 1,000 units in the first year. The base price is 454,650 Japanese yen or approximately 4,000 Euros.
The EV-neo is also being used in Honda Electric Vehicle Testing Programmes in Kumamoto and Saitama prefectures. These testing programmes which include motorcycles, automobile and power equipment products based on electromotive technologies will help to test future forms of personal mobility and their potential in CO2 reduction. In the Kumamoto Programme, EV-neo scooters are rented to residents and tourists to provide feedback on their use and benefits and in Saitama they are leased to delivery companies.
Honda will be bringing the EV-neo to Europe for the first time when a Demonstration Programme with Barcelona City Council gets underway from the beginning of July 2011. The programme will see 18 Honda EV-neo electric scooters leased to city authorities for the period of a year.
This activity will enable Honda to test the Ev-neo in real-life European riding conditions and will help to develop our understanding of electric vehicle usage. Daily monitoring of the EV-neos will take place and will look to analyse riding distance, charging time and load conditions. RACC, Spain's leading Automobile Club will co-ordinate the monitoring activity in conjunction with Montesa Honda and Barcelona City Council.
Honda designed the EV system for the EV-neo to reflect the basic operation of a petrol engine motorcycle.
. The rider operates the throttle, and an APS (Accelerator Position Sensor) converts the degree of throttle opening into an electric signal.
. The PDU* calculates the optimal motor output level based on the signal from the APS and information from the BMU**.
. Then, to produce this optimal output level, the PDU sends the appropriate amount of electricity from the battery to the motor.
* PDU = Power Drive Unit: See later in this document.
** BMU = Battery Management Unit: Manages battery condition (temperature, remaining charge and other parameters).
EV system: Pathway from throttle input to motor output
Honda designed the compact power unit of the EV-neo to fit neatly among the unsprung parts of the machine. The EV-neo offers an output of 2.8 kW (rated output 0.58 kW)-equivalent to a petrol engine motorcycle in the same class. Even when fully loaded with 30 kg of cargo, it can start smoothly and climb a 12° incline.
To create a highly compact power unit, Honda designed all parts to achieve the best balance of weight, size and performance.
• PDU (Power Drive Unit)
The PDU is made up of two areas
- 12 V controller area: The controller area continuously manages power for the vehicle as a whole, including the motor, meters, headlight and charger. In communicating with the BMU, it uses a controller area network (CAN) for trustworthy data transmission.
- 72 V driver area: The driver area converts the DC current of the lithium-ion battery into 3-phase alternating current to drive the motor.
Placing the PDU directly behind the swing arm pivot and between the battery and the motor results in shorter wiring to connect these three parts, a more compact power unit overall and more efficient transmission of electricity.
The DC brushless motor features interior permanent magnets (IPM), which help produce high output even at low rpms for outstanding off-the-line acceleration. To ensure smooth acceleration at high rpms and efficient performance throughout the rpm range, the motor makes effective use of reluctance torque derived from the mutual pull of the magnets and steel parts.
• Automatic centrifugal clutch
To accommodate a wide variety of usage situations (flat roads, hills, loaded with cargo, etc.) the EV-neo features an automatic centrifugal clutch designed by Honda exclusively for EVs. This builds on the successful automatic centrifugal clutch technologies that Honda developed for its petrol engine scooters.
The EV-neo motor does not require a gear box. This offers flexibility in terms of motor location on the motorcycle and efficiency throughout the rpm range. Situated to the left of the rear wheel, the motor uses only a deceleration gear as needed. In addition to making the power unit more lightweight, this transmission configuration eliminates loss of power due to gear shifting and allows the battery to supply electricity very efficiently.
• Regenerative deceleration
When the rider releases the throttle grip, the EV-neo carries out regenerative deceleration to charge the battery. The EV-neo optimises the amount of torque produced during regenerative recharging to offer an engine braking feel similar to that of a petrol engine motorcycle.
•Linear throttle response
The EV-neo responds instantly to throttle input, transmitting the appropriate amount of electricity to the motor to produce the desired output. The result is throttle response that reflects the rider's intentions precisely during acceleration and deceleration. Leveraging the motor's ability to produce maximum torque at low rpms, the EV-neo offers highly stable performance in off-the-line acceleration as well as at low speeds.
• Substantial range
Comprising 90 SCiB cells, the battery of the EV-neo offers a capacity of 907 Wh (72 V x 12.6 Ah (1HR)), as calculated by Honda from the usage pattern of a typical rider during testing. This capacity allows for a vehicle range of 34 km at 30 km/h on level ground.*
*Honda calculations based on predetermined test conditions (user results may vary based on weather, road conditions, vehicle condition and maintenance, and other parameters).
• Low-temperature performance
In general, the lower the temperature of the battery, the lower its performance, however, the cells of the EV-neo battery offer excellent performance even at low temperatures. In addition, the BMU can sense when battery temperature is low and communicate this information to the PDU, which switches the motor to limited output mode. In this mode, the EV-neo continues to run with slightly diminished acceleration performance. Once the EV-neo starts moving, the battery discharges electricity and begins to warm up. As the battery temperature rises above a set level, the PDU cancels limited output mode, and acceleration performance returns to normal levels.
• High-temperature performance
In high temperatures, repetitive charging of the battery causes its temperature to rise, and users would normally have to limit their riding to prevent degradation of battery capacity. However, when the temperature of the EV-neo battery rises above a set level a cooling fan activates, bringing air into the battery box and helping to moderate the rate of temperature increase. This system helps support repetitive charging and allows the EV-neo to be used at any time of day and in any season.
In batteries where many cells are connected in series, the batteries with the lowest remaining charge suppress the total system capacity, thus reducing the vehicle range. In contrast, the battery of the EV-neo uses a remaining charge equalisation system to prevent such a reduction in vehicle range.
The EV-neo's charging system is designed for durability even with high frequency of use.
• Simple and quiet
Honda believes that the charging process for EVs should be as simple, convenient and quick as possible. In the case of the EV-neo, the user simply plugs in the charger's two cords-one into a power outlet, and one into the bike's charging connector-and presses the charger's start button to begin charging. Once the EV-neo is fully charged, the charging process stops automatically. An indicator on the charger displays the status of the charging process.
The charging connector of the EV-neo is located on the left of the vehicle and is designed to be small in size yet able to withstand the frequent connection and disconnection of the charging cable. A locking lid in the body of the EV-neo protects the connector.
The EV-neo is designed to be quiet whilst riding and during the charging process, producing 45 dB or less regardless of whether the regular or rapid charger is used.
• Regular charger
The regular charger uses household power for easy, convenient charging anywhere. It takes the EV-neo battery from zero charge to a full charge in approximately 3.5 hours (at ambient temperature of 25 °C).
The regular charger is a highly portable unit and fits neatly in the cargo space beneath the seat of the EV-neo. The user simply aligns the grooves on the charger with guidelines in the cargo space and lightly pushes down; the charger will slide into place. To remove the charger, the user simply pulls upward on the charger's handle.
The charger's cords are also cleverly stored. The DC cord that connects the charger to the vehicle fits into a groove in the charger, and there is also a space in the charger for the cord's connector. The AC cord that connects the charger to the wall outlet is coiled after use and placed in a pocket built in to the charger.
• Rapid charger
The rapid charger takes the EV-neo battery from zero charge to a full charge in approximately 30 minutes (at ambient temperature of 25 °C). In addition, the rapid charger features step-down charging, performing high-current charging until the battery is almost fully charged and then switching to low-current charging to complete the charging process. This method makes it possible for the rapid charger to charge the battery of the EV-neo to the 100% level.
Equipped with a handle, the rapid charger is lightweight and compact for easy carrying. Aside from the power source, no additional equipment is required.
• Charging system
The charging system continuously monitors the battery charge level and temperature, adjusting to changes in these parameters to charge the EV-neo simply, quickly and completely.
The charger is controlled by the PDU, and its connector contains a terminal to transmit signals between the charger and the PDU, as well as a terminal to transmit electricity to the battery. The system works as follows:
. When the user inserts the charger connector in the vehicle and presses the START button, the PDU is activated and begins exchanging signals with the charger.
. Responding to information received from the BMU, the PDU sends signals to the charger to begin and stop charging. If the rapid charger is being used, the PDU also sends signals to regulate the change in charging rate during step-down charging.
. Responding to signals from the PDU, the charger starts and stops transmitting electricity to the battery via the connector's electrical transmission terminal.
. The PDU conveys the battery charge status to the EV-neo's battery remaining charge indicator.
BODY• Upright riding position
The EV-neo has a step-through frame and a flat floor. To make it easier for the feet to reach the ground, the seat and body cover curve gently inward toward the centre of the body. In addition the upright riding position helps provide excellent field of vision.
• Superior stability
The placement of the battery beneath the vehicle floor helps keep the EV-neo's centre of gravity low, enhancing vehicle stability even when the vehicle is loaded with cargo. The frame of the EV-neo holds the battery firmly in place while protecting it from shock and is also designed to help minimise the burden created by the extra weight of the battery.
Standard 12-inch tubeless tyres at the front and rear enhance manoeuvrability and reduce the chance of a flat tyre.
• New Combi Brake system
To provide ample braking power and stable braking performance, the EV-neo uses 130 mm diameter drum brakes in the front and rear. The new Combi Brake system delivers braking force to both the front and rear wheels when the left braking lever (conventional rear wheel brake) is depressed, and delivers braking force only to the front wheel when the right braking lever (front wheel brake) is depressed.
The left and right steering angle is 50°, and the minimum turning radius is 1.7 m.
In a petrol engine scooter, the seat is situated over the engine. This is not the case in the EV-neo, allowing for a large open space between the seat and the floor and for additional rider comfort. In combination with the large body panels surrounding the rider, this unique shape creates a simple and striking silhouette.
The easy-to-access charging port lid with plug pictogram is the only coloured element of the bike, providing a clearly recognisable EV icon that provides a clean, neat impression.
The digital speedometer includes the remaining charge indicator which provides a linear readout, allowing the rider to easily estimate the remaining vehicle range based on the current remaining charge and the distance already travelled. A trip meter provides further support to the rider in estimating the remaining range.
AUTO POWER SAVE SYSTEM
If the EV-neo is left on for approximately three minutes without input from the rider, the Auto Power Save system turns off battery power to prevent the waste of energy.
The EV-neo shares major motor components, production equipment and raw materials with the Insight hybrid vehicle. The motor of the EV-neo has the same basic structure as that of the Monpal ML200 electric cart meaning that the same Kumamoto Factory assembly line can handle motor assembly for both products. In this way, Honda is realising the benefits of synergistic production and further advancing its EV production technologies.