Honda Announces the Development of Intelligent Community Vehicle System (ICVS) Management Technology and Vehicles

September 10, 1998, Japan


Tokyo, September 10, 1998 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced today the development of both small electric vehicles and their management system to create a viable Intelligent Community Vehicle System (ICVS). Since August 1998, Honda has been conducting public test drives of the ICVS Racoon and the ICVS Mon Pal at Twin Ring Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture. ICVS Step Deck and City Pal vehicles together with a control center and docking bays will be added to the roster of test vehicles on October 5 to offer an even wider range of convenience.

ICVS concepts and goals
Honda's proposed ICVS is a limited range transportation system for the near future in which system members share environment-friendly vehicles, such as small electric cars and electric-power assisted bicycles. The system is designed to be integrated with members' private vehicles as well as with public transportation to help reduce the burden conventional vehicles place on the environment and alleviate various transportation problems such as parking space shortages, and traffic congestion, all without making transportation any less convenient.

ICVS development background
In October 1994, in Detroit, Honda announced the concepts behind the ICVS. In April 1996, at Metropolis '96 in Tokyo, Honda made public conceptual models of ICVS vehicles. Honda has been displaying vehicles and other components of the ICVS at Twin Ring Motegi since March 1998 while conducting tests with the ICVS Racoon and Mon Pal since August 1998. With the addition of the ICVS Step Deck and City Pal, the system should become more appropriate for real-world situations and meet a broader range of needs. Honda hopes to put this community-oriented transportation system into operation soon to help remedy various existing transportation problems.

How ICVS works

1. IC card system

Individuals registering as members of the system are issued an IC card exclusively for ICVS.

  • At docking bays located in designated parking areas, members can use their IC card to select a vehicle, complete rental procedures, return the vehicle, and calculate user fees.
  • After completing rental procedures, members unlock and start the ICVS vehicle they have selected using their IC card (vehicles do not require keys).
  • Using their IC cards, members can choose from four types of vehicles, including an electric-power assisted bicycle (ICVS Racoon), a one-person electric car (Mon Pal), a one-person hybrid car (ICVS Step Deck), and a two-person electric car (ICVS City Pal).
  • Members can return vehicles to, or exchange vehicles at, other docking bays for maximum flexibility in terms of location and types of vehicles they drive.
ICVS docking bay

ICVS docking bay

ICVS IC card

ICVS IC card

2. Automation of management

  • Members can easily complete all rental and return procedures themselves using screens set up at docking bays.
  • Since the IC cards function as vehicle keys, members need not pick-up, return, or keep vehicle keys.
  • Fees are automatically calculated. Calculation of user fees is done automatically, lightening the system manager's burden. Members can also have fees automatically paid out of their bank account.
  • The ICVS City Pal features the following technologies for automating the management of operations.

ICVS City Pal's automation technology

Real-time vehicle management through radio communications
Real-time radio communications allow the control center to obtain information about vehicle availability at ports to optimize service to members.

Caravan Drive
When the number or mix of vehicles at docking bays becomes seriously unbalanced, a system worker driving an ICVS vehicle can lead up to four unmanned vehicles to another docking bays thanks to technologies such as inter-vehicle communication systems and ultra-wide angle laser radar.

Automatic parking and vehicle docking
A host of technologies installed in each docking bay, including magnetic rails, guidance cables and ultrasonic sensors, enables vehicles to be parked and moved in and out of docking bays automatically.

Automatic recharging system
If the battery charge level on any vehicle returned to a docking bay is low, it is automatically moved to the recharging terminal so that the battery can be recharged.

ICVS City Pal caravan drive redistribution

ICVS City Pal
caravan drive redistribution

ICVS City Pal automatic charging terminal

ICVS City Pal
automatic charging terminal

ICVS vehicles

1. ICVS vehicles to be put into public service this October

ICVS Step Deck

An ultra-small single-seater hybrid vehicle, the ICVS Step Deck was developed as an urban business commuter. When the battery gets low, the engine automatically kicks in. The driver can get in and out of the vehicle by stepping on the step decks positioned at the front and back as well as on both sides, so the vehicle can be parked in extremely tight quarters. Four of these vehicles can be parked in a parking spot for a single standard vehicle.

Dimensions (L x W x H): 2,400 mm x 1,185 mm x 1,690 mm
Power source: 49 cc water-cooled, four-cycle engine/permanent
magnetic synchronous motor hybrid
Drive system: rear-wheel drive
Maximum speed: 60 km/h
Seating capacity: one

ICVS City Pal

The ICVS City Pal is a two-person EV developed as a next-generation commuter. Despite its compactness, the ICVS City Pal has a large cargo space and offers passengers a comfortable ride thanks to its advanced navigation system and air-conditioner. In addition to a normal drive function, the ICVS City Pal is equipped with advanced systems for automatic unmanned driving and charging.

Dimensions: 3,210 mm x 1,645 mm x 1,645 mm
Power source: permanent magnetic synchronous motor
Drive system: front-wheel drive
Maximum speed: 110 km/h
Range: 130 km/charge
Seating capacity: two

ICVS Step Deck

ICVS Step Deck

ICVS City Pal

ICVS City Pal

2. ICVS vehicles test driven by the public since August

ICVS Racoon

The ICVS Racoon is an electric-power assisted vehicle that can climb slopes with ease while retaining all the convenience of a bicycle. With an IC card, riders can easily operate the main switches, lock the wheels, and insert or remove the batteries. What's more, the vehicle is almost effortless to use if fully charged batteries are rented from the power station (battery box exclusively for the system).

Dimensions (L x W x saddle height): 1,885 mm x 580 mm x 770-920 mm
Power source:
permanent magnetic commutator-motor
Range of power-assisted speeds: 0-15 km/h (proportional assist),
15-23 km/h (diminishing assist)
Maximum range: 27 km (Honda mode)

ICVS Mon Pal

The ICVS Mon Pal is a one-person EV developed for use by senior citizens. Since the vehicle is designed to be driven at walking speeds, riders can comfortably drive in pedestrian areas, such as indoors and on sidewalks.

Dimensions (L x W x H): 1,190 mm x 690 mm x 1,080 mm
(1,450 mm x 690 mm x 1625 mm with roof)
Power source: permanent magnetic commutator-motor
Drive system: rear wheel drive
Maximum speed: 6 km/h
Seating capacity: one
ICVS Racoon

ICVS Racoon

ICVS Mon Pal

ICVS Mon Pal

ICVS in Twin Ring Motegi