Honda is envisioning what it calls a CO2-free society and, not surprisingly, it's a rather sunny one, in one Japanese city, at least. The Japanese automaker is kicking off a test program with the micro-electric-vehicle that will use power generated via photovoltaic energy collected and stored at EV charging stations. Yes, the big old sun will power those little-bitty MC-β cars.

MC-β is shorthand for "Micro Computer Beta" and the car is certainly an appropriate vehicle for these tests. The car is 98 inches long (about eight inches shorter than a Smart ForTwo) and has a 43-mile-per-hour top speed as well as an electric motor that delivers a meager eight horsepower. The car is designed to meet Europe's quadricycle regulations and has a 50-mile single-charge range. No word on if or when it'll go into production, of course, but Honda and Toshiba are working with Japan's Miyakojima City on the project, with Toshiba responsible for building three solar-powered EV-charging stations.

The Japanese automaker unveiled the latest incarnation of the 1+1 tandem-seating-arrangement MC-β last fall. You can see our "Quick Spin" impressions of the model here and read Honda's press release below.
Show full PR text
Honda Begins Experimental Test-driving of MC-β Micro-sized EV Using Renewable Energy

TOKYO, Japan, January 28, 2014 - Jointly with Miyakojima City and Toshiba Corporation, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. began experimental test-driving of the MC-β, Honda's micro-sized EV, using photovoltaic (PV) energy as part of the Miyakojima City Small-sized Electromotive Mobility Project*1. Through this experimental program, Honda will operate an environmentally-responsible micro-sized EV using renewable energy, and work together with the local community to explore the possibility of a CO2-free society.

In November 2013, Honda began separate field tests jointly conducted with Kumamoto Prefecture, Saitama City and Miyakojima City using the MC-β. For the field tests in Miyakojima City, as a part of the initiative as an environmentally-responsible model city, the feasibility of the introduction and utilization of small-sized electromotive mobility products and electricity supply facilities are being verified.

For this particular driving experiment in the city using renewable energy, the MC-β will be charged from three new PV recharging stations newly built by Toshiba. The test will explore the potential usage patterns and needs of small-sized mobility products in a mobility environment unique to remote islands, where the travel distance is short and energy resources for mobility such as gasoline are procured from off the island.

This test will also verify the effects of CO2 emissions and energy cost reduction, and verification results will be utilized in the effort to establish mobility and energy models which will fit in with a recycling-oriented society, a requirement for the next generation.

On January 28, 2014, Miyakojima City held an ceremony at its PV recharging station. One of the attendees at the ceremony, Mr. Takeo Kiuchi, Senior Researcher of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. commented: "This experiment that verifies the potential of a CO2-free society represents the very activities Honda is pursuing in the effort to realize 'the joy and freedom of mobility' and 'a sustainable society where people can enjoy life.' I expect that this initiative will serve as a trigger for people to reconsider the value of this wonderful natural environment of Miyakojima Island for generation after generation."

Honda will continue to be proactive in proposing next-generation mobility products which expand the joy and fun of mobility, and suitable city planning for each community, while striving to minimize the environmental footprint of such mobility products and city planning.

*1
A project in which Miyakojima City, Toshiba Corporation and Honda work together in the effort to propose usage models of micro-sized EVs in the environment of a remote island.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      • 2 Days Ago
      All the emerging future transportation energy vector developments point to this direction: Battery electric vehicles for urban use / short commutes, fuel cell vehicles for pretty much anything else (sharing this duty with ICE vehicles for a very-very long time). And approx. in the middle of this century hopefully but also presumably fusion will kick in (some projects even estimate to scale up to regular production as early as 2022), which will literally change the world for good (aka “energy for everyone”). Today 1.3 billion people still live without electricity. In 2011 the world used 17 terawatts energy which will be ~28 terawatts in 2050. Fusion: Energy density: 10^6 x oil, unlimited low cost fuel supply, secure: turns off immediately, no possibility of meltdown, flexible: thermal or direct energy conversion options, zero emission: no long-lived radioactive waste + no pollution of any kind. But creating a CO2-free society is way beyond Honda’s scope (and it is not even possible as opposed to a zero emission society), since the highest CO2 emitting industries are: Guardian: “Which industries and activities emit the most carbon?” “Global emissions can be allocated to human activities in various ways. One of the most granular analyses is this one from the World Resources Institute (WRI), which breaks down total global emissions into the following headline sectors: Energy – Electricity & heat (24.9%) – Industry (14.7%) – Transportation (14.3%) – Other fuel combustion (8.6%) – Fugitive emissions (4%) Agriculture (13.8%) Land use change (12.2%) Industrial processes (4.3%) Waste (3.2%) Although, electricity generation and transmission is one of industrial sectors with the biggest carbon footprint, but not at all the only one. These sectors are then assigned to various end uses e.g.: Transportation: Road transport (10.5%) Air transport (excluding additional warming impacts) (1.7%) Other transport (2.5%) Altogether only 14.7% Even Deforestation / Reforestation alone almost beats the whole transportation industry: Deforestation (11.3%) Reforestation (-0.4%) Conclusion: zero emission society (so not CO2 free society, since e.g. we still need to eat etc.) is a very important goal, but way beyond the scope of the transportation industry alone and here’s exactly where great importance of world politics kicks in.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Days Ago
        --"Battery electric vehicles for urban use / short commutes, fuel cell vehicles for pretty much anything else.." Why does everyone have amnesia for PHEVs whenever they try to sell the notion of Hydrogen vehicles?? BEVs for Urban/Suburban use and Short to Medium commutes (already tested in real life). *requires a bit more development of fast charging infrastructure* PHEVs for everything else... FCVs for niche sub-markets like a few self-reliant fleets which refuel using company owned fueling depots. We already have a very good precedent from how CNG has become a niche fuel provider. Hydrogen will likely fill the same roles. Which is great, but don't expect FCVs to be widely accepted in personal transportation with PHEVs being way ahead.
      Rotation
      • 2 Days Ago
      Golf cart. The NEV market is already burgeoning. Figure out how to get better batteries in them for less than a zillion dollars and it'll take off even more.
        Samuel Look
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Rotation
        The word your looking for is Quadricycle, qualifying as such being the entire point of the size weight and dimensions of this vehicle.
          Rotation
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Samuel Look
          No, the words I was looking for were the ones I found. In the language I speak, we don't even have the word "quadricycle".
      danfred311
      • 2 Days Ago
      That segment has potential but as mentioned before, it would have far more potential with closed cabin and bit better aero. And supporting fast charge is key as well. Put some agile lifepo in it so it can charge in 5-10 minutes and you have something. With a small vehicle like that, it’s readily doable with 50kW chademo or equivalent.
      EVnerdGene
      • 2 Days Ago
      " a CO2-free society " Does that mean humans and other animals will stop breathing ?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Days Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        We will have CO2 wearable scrubbers so they can collect the valuable gas, for resale or recycling.
        danfred311
        • 2 Days Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        Yes Gene, that's what it means. And you will be first.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Days Ago
          @danfred311
          Dan, how about holding your breath until you see my obit ?
          danfred311
          • 2 Days Ago
          @danfred311
          It was your suggestion, not mine. Own it. Or better yet, more thoughtful in the future.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Days Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        @ EVnerdGene Research is now very advanced ( at field trial stage), of genetically breed livestock, that emit 94% less methane.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Marco, there's a downside to everything. Since they fart less, they probably taste like a fart. Let'er rip.
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Days Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        @LTAW or, to feed plants intravenously
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Days Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        Better tax and regulate those volcanoes, as they really pose a risk to the dream.. ;D
    • Load More Comments