Honda Announces Launch of Nekomaru HPE60 Electric Power-Assisted Wheelbarrow

April 27, 1998, Japan

Power Products

Tokyo, April 27, 1998 - The HPE60 electric power-assisted wheelbarrow will go on sale from July 1 at Honda Power Products dealers throughout Japan. Lightweight, compact and functionally simple to operate, the HPE60 helps reduce the effort of moving loads, and brings a new level of convenience to wheelbarrows.
The Nekomaru HPE60 employs the same basic technology as that used in the Honda Racoon electric power-assisted bicycle. Responding automatically to a perceived load to reduce the effort needed by the operator, the HPE60 is the first of Honda Power Products equipped with electric power assistance.

The Nekomaru HPE60 electric power-assisted wheelbarrow

The Nekomaru HPE60 electric power-assisted wheelbarrow

The Nekomaru HPE60 electric power-assisted wheelbarrow

The Nekomaru HPE60 electric power-assisted wheelbarrow

In the case of the Racoon, the electric motor supplies power depending on how much force it detects is being applied to the pedals. In the Nekomaru, special sensors in the handle grips detect how much force is being applied to push the load and convert this information into an electrical signal. Regulated via a control circuit, the signal causes an amount of electric motive power proportional to the operator's pushing force to be supplied to the wheel. In this way the mechanism gives you extra assistance when you need it, depending on the load and slope. Otherwise, operation is like any ordinary wheelbarrow.

A new, highly efficient brake design and a one-way clutch ensure you easy operation even when strong forces are being applied to the load. Furthermore, a single switch is all that is needed to activate the power-assist mechanism and even when it is in the on position, electricity is only consumed when necessary. This energy efficient system thus keeps the battery size small. This in turn helps keep all the parts supplying the motive power lightweight and compact.

The Nekomaru HPE60 electric power-assisted wheelbarrow is equally at home in muddy fields as it is on the factory floor. It can be safely and easily used by anyone including women and senior citizens.

Domestic annual sales target:

5,000 units

Main features:

  • Electric power assistance makes the HPE60 capable of being operated by anyone.
  • A simple locking mechanism on the brake allows for safe parking.
  • The sealed battery design helps ensure that no liquid leaks out, even if the wheelbarrow topples over or is stored vertically.
  • The battery indicator shows the battery power level at a glance. To recharge, the users can simply plug into the recharging socket of the special 24V charger that comes as standard.
  • The extra-large battery is designed for use over extended periods of time, and can be stored in the same battery holder.
  • Sensor-equipped grip parts are made of rubber with oil shielding. Without any moving belt or chain, this transmission mechanism is highly reliable and maintenance-free.

Main specifications:

Machine name HPE60
Total length/width/height (mm) 1360 x 615 x 525
Dimensions of load-bearing area
(length/width/height (mm))
750 x 530 x 50
Height of load-bearing area floor
(mm in horizontal position)
Handle height and spacing (mm) 760/560
Weight (kg fully equipped machine/without battery) 31/26
Motor (V-W/rpm) 24-220/4250
Battery type (optional) YTX 9-BS (YTX 12-BS)
Possible running time
(60kg, fully loaded, level ground/40kg load, 10 degree slope)
1~2 hours/1 hour*
Driving mechanism applied to single wheel
(forward freewheeling)
Wheel external diameter (phi: mm) 364
Brake construction internal expansion friction brake
Speed-changing mechanism one-stage electronically-regulated stroke sensor-mediated system
Maximum load (kg: level ground/slope) 60/40
Machine speed range (m/s: km/h) 0~1.35 (4.9)
  • *Running times on full battery charge. Since these will vary with operating conditions, they are merely estimates.