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Silent, Clean and Green: Riding the 2019 Honda PCX Electric

When Honda Philippines, Inc. (HPI) launched their latest line of big bikes – the CB650R and CB1000R retro café racers, and the Goldwing touring bike – last December 2018, our attention was diverted from these sporty motorcycles to a small white scooter quietly parked among the test ride units. It was Honda’s electric scooter – the PCX Electric.

This electric scooter is based on the company’s stylish twist-and-go PCX scooter. The wheelbase was slightly extended to accommodate two removable “Honda Mobile Power Pack” units in the under-seat storage compartment. However, the PCX Electric maintains the PCX’s overall length, which is ideal for sifting through traffic gaps in urban areas. The comfortable riding position and sufficient rear tire movement that made the gas-powered PCX very popular with scooter enthusiasts were likewise retained by the electric scooter.

Under-seat storage bin holds two lithium ion Honda Mobile Power Packs.

Dynamic Styling

The styling of the Honda PCX scooter series is elegant and relaxed with continuously flowing curves from the front to the rear. The PCX Electric further enhances the advanced and suave styling with LED lights all around, blue accenting for the headlight bracket and tail light inner lens, and blue accents when the lights are turned off. The rear-hugger attached to the rear of the power unit adds to its sophistication and uniqueness.

With the extended wheelbase, the rear seat cushion has likewise been lengthened and the electric motor drive is positioned further to the back using three-stage springs. A newly-designed power unit hanger is matched with the quiet electric motor to provide a silky smooth ride. The PCX Electric will be available in Pearl Glare White with Candy Blue accents that enhance the scooter’s premium nature.

Hi-Tech Electric Scooter

An electric motor with Honda’s exclusive Interior Permanent Magnet (IPM) structure propels the PCX Electric. The electric motor produces 4.2kW (5.6 horsepower) and churns out ample torque at low rpm to provide smooth riding, powerful acceleration and hill-climbing performance, and high energy efficiency. The powerful and compact IPM power unit provides motor temperature protection and concise electric-flow control, eliminating the need for an oil-pump, radiator, and clutch that are usually found in scooters with internal combustion engines.

5.6 hp IPM AC Electric Motor directly drives the rear wheel.

The removable “Honda Mobile Power Pack” units supply 96 volts and features two serially-connected 48-volt high-energy density lithium-ion batteries. The power supply enables the PCX Electric to travel up to 41 kilometers on a single charge. Once the power packs are completely discharged, they can be plugged into a 110-volt wall outlet and be fully charged in approximately 6 hours while connected to the scooter. The power packs can also be removed from the scooter and charged in approximately 4 hours using the optional charger.

Honda Mobile Power Packs removed from the PCX Electric

Compartment holds plug-in charging wires.

The PCX Electric can be plugged directly into a 100V AC outlet.

Riding Electric

We were given a chance to take the PCX Electric around a designated course inside the Honda Safety Driving Center (HSDC). Upon mounting the scooter, you’ll face an instrument panel that displays a speedometer, clock, mobile power pack charge, and charge status when connected to a power outlet. The PCX Electric is secured and actuated by a Honda Smart Key system that allows the rider to unlock the main switch knob by simply approaching the bike without needing to remove the smart key from your pocket.

We mount the electric scooter…

… and face a nice instrument panel…

… with a hi-tech LCD display.

Like a regular scooter, the PCX Electric is easy to ride and easy to handle, albeit a bit eerily silent, especially if you’re waiting for an exhaust note to excite your senses. The smooth AC motor pulls surprisingly well from zero to 60 km/h and provides a bit of excitement when you twist the throttle. However, racing the motor will decrease the scooter’s riding range. It’s nice to know that the front wheel has anti-lock brakes (ABS) but we weren’t able to explore it within the confines of the test ride venue. Overall, the PCX Electric provides a smooth, comfortable ride with a rich and elegant feel.

The Honda Smart Key stays in the pocket…

… and unlocks the switch to turn the electric motor on.

And away we go… silently…smoothly…

It’s reassuring to know that the front disc brake features ABS.

Coil-over shock absorbers assist the rear swing arm/motor drive assembly.

Focus Group Distribution

Honda plans to collect a wide range of actual customer opinions and requirements regarding electric scooters using the PCX Electric. Each electric scooter will be monitored starting with a bike-sharing service in the Tokyo district and a bike-rental service experiment in Japanese tourist resort. Honda also plans to lease-sell the scooter in South East Asia, with a surplus power utilization system experiment using the PCX Electric set to commence in Romblon.

Through scientific monitoring, and rental and sharing services, Honda will be able to gauge electric scooter usability from business to personal use, and utilize the data to bring electric scooters even closer to the customer. The company plans to produce 250 units for Japanese domestic and international release. Indeed, the dawn of clean, green and quiet personal mobilization is here!

Specifications

Model                          :           2019 Honda PCX Electric (ZAD-EF01)

Classification              :           Scooter

Engine                         :           EF01M AC motor

Max. power output     :           4.2kW(5.6hp)@5500rpm

Max. torque                 :           18Nm@500rpm

Transmission               :           Direct

Frame                          :           Double cradle

Suspension                  :           Front telescopic Rear unit-swing

Brakes                         :           Front hydraulic disc Rear mechanical leading/trailing drum

Tires                            :           Front 100/80-14M/C 48P Rear 120/70-14M/C 55P

Length                         :           1960mm

Width                          :           740mm

Height                         :           1095mm

Wheelbase                   :           1380mm

Ground clearance        :           132mm

Seat height                  :           760mm

Curb weight                :           144kg

Min. turning radius     :           2.1 meters

Range (single charge)  :           41km at 60km/h steady state test

Battery type                :           Lithium ion

Battery voltage           :           50.4V x 2

Battery capacity          :           20.8Ah x 2

Battery charger           :           100V AC (single phase)

Manufacturer              :           Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Please note that travel distance on single charge was calculated according to pre-determined test conditions. Performance may vary according to many factors including the customer’s environment (weather, traffic), riding style, bike condition (features, specifications) and maintenance.

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