Honda’s micro-sized EV model — the Honda Micro Commuter β — will begin field tests this fall in the Japanese city of Saitama, a recent press release from the company has revealed. The Saitama City council for the promotion of micro-sized electric vehicles submitted the application to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, which adopted the project on June 28, 2013.
In addition to Saitama, as previous announcements have made clear, Kumamoto Prefecture and Miyakojima City in Okinawa Prefecture will also be sites for the field testing of the micro EV later this fall. Comprehensive agreements have already been made with the respective governments — though, some details are still being discussed.
For those that don’t know, the Micro Commuter Prototype β is a micro-sized short-distance transportation EV that’s been developed in “consideration of the vehicle categories for micro-sized mobility products that are currently being discussed under the initiative of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan, as well as for regulations for the L7 category in Europe.”
The tiny EV has been designed so that the battery, motor and control unit can all fit under the floor and in the rear space — allowing the EV frame to accommodate a variety of different body and interior types which can specialized for a variety of different uses, and/or the needs/preferences of the customer. The upcoming field testing will be done entirely with the two-occupant (one driver/one passenger) models.
The field tests will allow Honda to gather data on usage patterns, and on the possible ways that micro-sized EVs can function as a part of urban social/transportation systems. Green Car Congress has more on that: “The testing project will particularly study the potential of a micro-sized EV in various uses including assisting the short-distance daily transportation of senior citizens and car-sharing for commuting and commercial purposes. In addition, the value of a micro-sized EV for child-raising families will also be studied.”
The field tests will also allow data to be obtained on the feasibility of the micro EV’s battery doubling as a household battery.