Taking a page from Renault and the Twizy – the page that says you don't need real doors on a tiny electric vehicleHonda has unveiled a new version of its tiny MC-β EV. That's tiny in terms of overall size, battery capacity and range. Should it ever go on sale in Europe, the MC-β would be considered an L7 vehicle, which is a classification for vehicles that weigh 400 kilograms or less (not counting battery weight) with a maximum power output of 15 kW – typically motorcycles. Honda is displaying the MC-β at the Smart Mobility City 2013 exhibition as part of the Tokyo Motor Show this week.

The MC-β is an updated version of the Micro Commuter, which Honda showed off last year. The beta version keeps the 1+1 tandem seating arrangement and Honda says it will fit "two adults comfortably" – plus cargo – thanks to its "offset seat layout." Gone is any mention of the modular rear seat, which in the original MC could be swapped out and replaced by two child seats. The length is a pocketable 2,495 mm (just over eight feet) and it's a squat 1,545 mm (just over five feet) high. The motor doesn't get anywhere near the 15 kW L7 limit, since it is rated at 6 kW and has a maximum output of 11 kW. The MC-beta can charge in under seven hours from a standard 100-volt Japanese outlet and in less than three hours from a 200-volt outlet. The car is built off of a lightweight pipe frame body that essentially takes motorcycle technology and doubles the number of wheels involved.

Put all that together and the MC-β can hit speeds of 43 miles per hour and has a range of over 50 miles from a lithium-ion battery of unannounced size. For the sort of short-distance running this micro-commuter is designed for, the MC-β might just fit the bill, provided Honda can get the price right. Feel free to read more in the press release below.
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Honda Unveils MC-β , New Micro-sized EV

- Field tests will begin in Kumamoto, Saitama and Miyakojima -

TOKYO, Japan, November 19, 2013 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today unveiled the MC-β, a new micro-sized short-distance EV commuter 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 the L7* category in Europe.

Honda will provide the MC-β for separate field tests started this month, jointly conducted with Kumamoto Prefecture, Saitama City, and Miyakojima City in Japan. In these field tests, Honda and each partner will explore desirable usage patterns and needs for micro-sized mobility products as a part of a social system that will help promote city planning and address issues related to transportation of people in each community.

•Key features of MC-β
  • In the pursuit of Honda's philosophy for automobile design that puts the first priority on space for people, the MC-β provides cabin space that fits two adults comfortably as well as utility space inside the micro-sized body through adoption of an "offset seat layout."
  • The micro-sized body, which is approximately 90 cm shorter than the body of a typical mini-vehicle, realized a minimum turning radius as short as 3.3 m to achieve outstanding ease-of-handling. Moreover, the MC-β features nimble driving performance unique to Honda EVs, offering a comfortable drive in a wide range of road conditions.
  • The pipe frame body, which represents the application of motorcycle technology, realized a lightweight and yet rigid body.
  • The use of a plastic outer panel made possible a bold exterior design, embodying a friendly design loved by people.
  • An AC100V/AC200V charging system was adopted to shorten the charging time. The MC-β can be charged by using a conventional, public EV charging stand.
The MC-β is scheduled to be exhibited at SMART MOBILITY CITY 2013.

Honda will continue to proactively propose next-generation mobility products which expand the joy of mobility while minimizing environmental footprint, and match city plans for each community.

* A motorcycle category in Europe. EVs in this category are required to weigh 400 kg or less excluding battery weight, with output of 15 kW or less.

Key Specifications of MC-β
Vehicle size
(length × width × height)
2,495 x 1,280 x 1,545 (mm)
Maximum speed More than 70 km/h
Motor output Rated: 6 kW / maximum 11 kW
Battery Lithium-ion battery
Maximum range More than 80 km
Charging time Less than 3 hours (200 V)
Less than 7 hours (100 V)

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