Honda Motorcycle fearlessly challenged the four-stroke gasoline-powered status quo today with the unveiling of its CR Electric prototype at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show. Dubbed the “E. Rex Prototype,” the electric motorcycle features a chassis based on a CRF250R and a motor built with the help of M-TEC (Mugen), makers of the Mugen Shinden electric superbike which has won the Isle of Man TT Zero race five consecutive times. It is fully functional and has been ridden on Honda’s test course.
The Honda CR Electric prototype is powered by a Maxwell Li-ion battery. From its aluminum twin-spar frame to its Showa suspension, the electric motorcrosser looks primed for some Glen Helen action.
“The goal of the prototype is to continue development of on- and off-road EV motorcycles on a performance level,” stated Colin Miller, American Honda’s public relations officer.
One of the smartest things Honda’s R&D Department did was to make the CR Electric prototype look like a conventional, combustion-powered motorcycle, from giving it a mock cylinder head to using a standard side cover. Keeping things familiar will go a long way toward the mainstream embracing an electric motorcycle.
With the recent announcement that Alta Motors was shuttering production, it’s refreshing to see a major player like Honda grabbing the reins in the wide-open electric dirt bike realm. While it is ultimately just a prototype, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this thing in production sooner more so than later. Honda has already been developing replaceable battery packs with Panasonic, so it will be interesting to see what direction it takes as it pushes the development of electric dirt bikes forward.