Honda's electric superbike shown - but wrapped in secrecy (or apathy?)
One of the disappointments of the Tokyo Motor Show which opened today was the lack of information on many of the concepts on show, and in particular, Honda's much awaited first real electric motorcycle. Up close, it looks like the real deal, but not one scrap of information was available on even the specifications. Honda wasn't the only culprit but with its extraordinary technology, we were expecting more.
Indeed, it appears as if the manufacturers have come to some sort of private agreement on how much effort will go into the show, just as they did in 2009 when the show was almost aborted due to the Global Financial Crisis, but went ahead with many exhibits significantly cut back in scale and effort.
This year there have again been significant problems in Japan, with the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear radiation problems, but the show in general is only a shadow of what it once was. Four years ago the Tokyo Motor Show was a powerhouse of automotive technological innovation demonstrating Japan's world-leading mastery of the automotive arts and sciences.
Showing concept bikes and cars with little or no additional information beyond the initial promotional press release is not doing the Japanese Automotive Industry any favours. This year the Tokyo Motor Show and the country's consumer electronics equivalent, CEATEC, joined forces to promote each other and Japanese technological prowess.
It seems like the abysmally poor presentation of information (no information available in English) which has characterized CEATEC and kept it as a sideshow on the expo circuit (when it shouldn't be) seems to have rubbed off on the automotive industry too.
Good luck to the Japanese automotive industry - what was once a showcase of expertise to the world appears to be in significant demise.
As for Honda, just when are we likely to see something more than a mock-up for its electric motorcycles? China is selling millions of electric scooters and motorcycles every year, yet we've seen little from the world's supposedly foremost motorcycle manufacturer other than promises.
Faced with exactly the same threats from Japan, the British Motorcycle Industry also buried its head in the sand. History has a funny way of repeating itself.