Meet Honda's latest electric vehicle: A rideable suitcase
The Motocompacto is a successor to the '81 Motocompo, but with greater ability to deprive its rider of dignity
With a growing market for electric scooters, we were expecting manufacturers to all eventually pile in, but Honda arriving on the scene with a rideable suitcase isn't quite what we had in mind.
When we noted earlier this year that electric two-wheelers were pulling ahead of electric cars in some parts of the world, we didn't anticipate something like the Honda Motocompacto to show up – yet here we are, looking at a full-on rideable rectangle.
For what it's worth, motorized smart luggage is definitely a thing already, and available from Airwheel and similar outfits. We've seen people ride them around at tourist hot spots and airports. We're just raising a collective eyebrow at an automaker like Honda getting involved in this segment.
It looks weird, but the Motocompacto is able to get a top speed of 15 miles per hour (24km/h), has a range of 12 miles (19.3km) and can be fully charged in 3.5 hours using (say) a regular North American 110V outlet. The handlebars and rear wheel of the Motocompacto are able to fold into the body of the "vehicle," and the seat stores inside as well. When in riding configuration, internal space doubles as storage, so it really is a rideable suitcase – albeit with limited capacity.
There isn't much in the way of a display on the scooter outside of a battery indicator, speedometer and indicators for the headlight and Bluetooth connectivity. The rest of your scooter stats will be found, predictably, in an accompanying mobile app. Here's your electric future:
"Sold in conjunction with our new all-electric SUVs, Motocompacto supports our goal of carbon neutrality by helping customers with end-to-end zero-emissions transport," said American Honda Motor Co. VP of R&D, Jane Nakagawa. While that may make it sound like it'll only be an accessory to EV purchases, Honda told us that the Motocompacto can be purchased independently, too.
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Honda made clear that it's a tribute to the original gas-powered Motocompo – a collapsible mini motorbike sold from 1981 to 1983 by Honda, but only in Japan and suggested for stowage in the cargo compartment of the three-door Honda City.
The Motocompo was a bit larger than the Motocompacto, and it weighed in at a massive 93 pounds (42kg), or 99 pounds (45kg) with a full tank of gas. The Motocompacto is a mere 41.3 pounds (18.75kg).
The Motocompo could also outpace its electric copycat. It was able to reach a blistering 25mph (40.2km/h). Born to be wild.
The Motocompacto will ship in November with a price point comparable to other e-scooters: $995 (£802), plus an added dignity tax. Unlike the Motocompo, it will be available on its own and not just as an add-on – buyers can pick one up online or through Honda and Acura dealerships.
For those outside the US that want to get their hands one one of these things, sorry: Honda tells us it's only planned for the US market. Consider it the Japanese motor maker's attempt to spare you all the pain of having your shins smashed in public spaces by passing waves of motorized carry-ons. ®