Honda Starts Electric Vehicle Testing Program with Kumamoto Prefecture

December 24, 2010, Japan


December 24, 2010 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced its plan on the ongoing cooperation with Kumamoto Prefecture on Electric Vehicle Testing Program for next-generation personal mobility products, including electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric scooters and electric carts. The specifics of the testing program, testing vehicles and solar-powered charging stations have also been revealed at Honda's Kumamoto Factory.

Conducted in real-world urban transportation environments, the program will focus on motorcycles, automobiles and power products based on electromotive technologies. The comprehensive program will also use advanced communications & telematics and solar-powered charging technologies to explore future forms of personal mobility and their potential of CO2 emissions reduction.

<Major objectives of the Electric Vehicle Testing Program>
On August 5, 2010, Honda and Kumamoto Prefecture entered into a comprehensive agreement to perform testing of next-generation mobility within the prefecture (agreement period: August 2010-March 2013). Based on this agreement, Honda has already begun testing the Monpal ML200 electric cart with the cooperation of Kumamoto City starting in October 2010. Additional testing programs will take place in Kumamoto City, Minamata City, Aso and Amakusa areas to further help realize a low-carbon mobility society in the future. The program will study the following:

  • The practicality and convenience of electromotive technology featured on next-generation personal mobility products, including Honda's EV and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the EV-neo electric scooter and the Monpal ML200 electric cart.
  • The effectiveness of solar power generation and other renewable energy sources in helping to realize a low-carbon mobility society.
  • The potential of next-generation personal mobility to enhance the QOL (quality of life) of residents in local communities.

Earlier on December 15, 2010, Honda announced its Electric Vehicle Testing Programs in the United States (Torrance, California) and with Saitama Prefecture on December 20. In addition to Japan and the United States, Honda is also considering the possibility of conducting a similar program in China.

Testing vehicles and solar-powered charging station

Testing vehicles and solar-powered charging station

[Electric Vehicle Testing Program in Kumamoto Prefecture]
Kumamoto Prefecture, its cooperating municipalities, the Kumamoto Industrial Federation, Kumamoto University, Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc. and Honda have formed a Next-Generation Mobility Testing Program Implementation Committee, which will explore the potential QOL benefits of next-generation personal mobility. To help contribute to the expansion of EVs and plug-in hybrid use, the committee will also explore future programs and locations within Kumamoto Prefecture. The following are the program objectives for each city:

Kumamoto City

  • Evaluate the QOL benefits of sharing Monpal ML200 electric carts at facilities for senior citizens using quantifiable data:
  • Shared use among residents of senior citizens' home located near the heart of the city.
  • Personal use of Monpal to senior citizens for commuting to a suburban health and welfare facility.
  • Short-term rental to residents and/or visitors to senior care facilities.
  • Rental program of EV-neo scooters to local residents and tourists to study its convenience of use and benefits. In addition, provide EV-neo to high school students to familiarize them with motorcycles and EVs as well as study their use in their school route.
  • Identify optimal locations for EV charging stations on prefectural facilities and other properties.

Minamata City

  • Rental program of EV-neo scooters to local residents and tourists to study its convenience of use and benefits, and identify optimal locations for EV charging stations on prefectural facilities and other properties. 

Aso area

  • Rental program of EV-neo scooters and plug-in hybrid vehicles to tourists to study its convenience of use and benefits.

Amakusa area

  • Study the convenience of use and benefits of EVs as local transportation on the island.

[Electric Vehicle Testing Program vehicles]
In addition to zero-emission electric vehicles, scooters and carts, the testing program will also include Honda's plug-in hybrid vehicles, which combine a gasoline engine with two high-output electric motors.

  • Electric vehicle (EV):

Based on the popular Fit that is known for its compact, maneuverable body and superior utility, this vehicle features a coaxial motor and other electromotive technologies developed for the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, combined with a Toshiba-produced lithium-ion battery. Charging with a 200-volt power source takes less than six hours, and vehicle driving range exceeds 160 km.

  • Plug-in hybrid vehicle:

Based on the platform of the Inspire mid-size sedan, this vehicle features a fuel-efficient 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine and two high-output electric motors, specially developed for this system. The vehicle can be operated in three drive modes: all-electric, gasoline-electric hybrid and engine drive modes. The lithium-ion battery is manufactured by Blue Energy, and the vehicle's all-electric mode driving range is 15 to 25 km.

  • Electric Sccoter (EV-neo):

Honda made the EV-neo electric scooter available for lease today in Japan to companies that make short-range deliveries and also to individual business owners.

  • Electric Cart (Monpal ML200):

Firstly launched in 2006, this stylish, comfortable and easy-to-ride 4-wheel electric cart with great stability will also be used as a testing vehicle. The Monpal used in this testing program will add a recording device capable of storing a variety of vehicle operation and performance data.

Major specifications of program vehicles (EV and plug-in hybrid)

  EV Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles
Engine 2.0L in-line 4-cylinder
Atkinson cycle i-VTEC engine
Transmission ECVT
Motor Coaxial electric motor
(same as in FCX Clarity)
Two-motor system
(drive, generation/regeneration)
Max. motor output 92 kW 120 kW
Battery type, manufacturer Lithium-ion battery, Toshiba 6 kWh lithium-ion battery, Blue Energy
EV range Over 160 km 25 km (JC08 mode)
EV max. speed 144 km/h 100 km/h
Charge time 100 V: under 12 h
200 V: under 6 h
Rapid charger: 30 min. (80%)
100 V: under 4 h
200 V: under 1.5 h

Major specifications of program vehicles (EV-neo, Monpal ML200)

  EV-neo Monpal ML200
Motor DC brushless motor DC brushless motor
Max. motor output 2.8 kW
Battery type, manufacturer Lithium-ion battery, Toshiba Valve-regulated lead-acid battery, Panasonic
EV range Over 34 km (as tested at 30 km/h on flat road) Approx. 25 km (6 km/h on level ground)
Charge time 100 V, regular charger: approx. 3.5 h
200 V, rapid charger: approx. 0.5 h
100 V: approx. 9 h

[Solar-powered charging station]
Located inside Honda’s Kumamoto Factory in Kumamoto Prefecture, this charging station features a solar-powered generating system manufactured by Honda Soltec. Honda will use the station in combination with advanced communications & telematics to test a wide variety of program objectives.

Solar-powered charging station (schematic)

Solar-powered charging station (schematic)

[Advanced communications and telematics]
Using the InterNavi Premium Club services, Honda's information network for automobiles, Honda will test charging station communications to improve customer convenience and safety. Using this support tool, a customer can search for charging stations, set destinations, confirm various vehicle conditions and access other information by using either a smartphone or a car navigation screen.

<Charging support service>
Even when away from the test vehicle, a customer can view a map on their smartphone of how far the vehicle can drive on its remaining battery charge, and also search for charging stations within that area. The customer can then select a charging station from the search results, forward the station information to the vehicle via the InterNavi Information Center, and set the station destination on the navigation screen. The navigation system will then guide the customer to the charging destinations.

[Smartphone display examples]

Check the remaining batteries

Check the remaining batteries

Drive range area 1

Drive range area 1

Drive range area 2

Drive range area 2