Electric scooter to hit Japan's streets for Christmas

Japanese automaker Honda has confirmed that it is to begin sales of its all-electric scooter December 24.

The firm will deliver approximately 100 of its EV-neo vehicles to businesses and business owners in Japan during the first three months of 2011, eventually hoping to up that number to 1,000 units leased every year.

It offers a vehicle range of 34 km per charge, assuming a constant speed of 30km/h on a level road, and can be recharged in 30 minutes with a special quick charger or 3.5 hours with a normal charger.

The vehicle has a base price of ¥454,650 (€4,085) in Japan and is expected to be trialled with delivery services before it becomes available to the general public, although Honda has given no indication of when that might be.

Several automakers have turned to electric scooters as a way to gently introduce electric vehicles to the public.

At the Paris Auto Show, both Mercedes-Benz and BMW debuted electric scooter concepts from their respective urban brands, Smart and MINI.

Though neither were set to go into production, they drew considerable attention at the show thanks to their slick design and iPhone integration.

On the same day that it announced the first sales of its EV-neo scooter, Honda also confirmed that it is to start the first public trials of the recently-unveiled Fit EV.

Three all-electric versions of the Honda Fit hatchback, which was first shown at the LA Auto Show in November, will be delivered to the City of Torrance, Stanford University and Google Inc, all in California, next year.

http://www.honda.com

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