$995 Honda Motocompacto: A bike in a briefcase
Honda will release a $995 transportation appliance in November with zero emissions and an ultra-compact foldable design. With a low entry price and Honda reliability, the Motocompacto might finally kickstart the "last mile" transport revolution.
The Motocompacto is very suitable for last mile transport, as it quickly folds into its own compact, light and stackable carrying case (29.2 x 21.1 x 3.7 inches). Indeed, it may become the ideal car accessory, a take-along suitcase to supplement public transport and its compactness means it can be stored and charged in tight places.
With a maximum speed of 15 mph (24 kmh) and zero-emissions range of up to 12 miles (19 km), Motocompacto can be fully charged in just 3.5 hours in both the folded and ready-to-ride configuration using a common 110 V outlet.
Though the Motocompacto was designed and developed by American Honda engineers, it is a concept that has been under development for half a century in the Japanese marketplace, and a very similar (though much bigger and heavier) gas-powered foldable Honda Motocompo was available in the 1980s as a "trunkbike" add-on for several Honda city cars.
The Honda Motocompo now has a cult following and sells for quite remarkable amounts at auction, particularly in America where it is rarer and people have more money. One of the most delightful aspects of the Motocompo was the 1980s Japanese TV commercial for the motorcycle in a suitcase featuring British ska band Madness.
We've been writing about the coming of light, convenient and foldable transportation appliances for two decades, but fully expect the Honda Motocompacto will now stimulate the rapid development of this marketplace, much as the Apple iPhone catalysed the smartphone marketplace.