Honda made an announcement about its participation in field tests including the one in Miyakojima City on the same day as Toshiba. Honda concluded an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the governments of Miyakojima City and Kumamoto Prefecture to perform a field test using the MC-β, an ultra-small EV for short-range driving. The EV is targeted at a vehicle category whose introduction is being considered mainly by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) for ultra-small vehicles as well as the L7 category in Europe.
To start the test in the fall of 2014, Honda began to consider specific issues. In the field test, the company will (1) help elderly people move within a short range on a daily basis, (2) test various applications of the EV such as commuting and car sharing for business purposes and (3) check the development of communities including infrastructure designed for each environment in cooperation with each local government. Also, it begins to consider applications for parents raising children.
The MC-β is based on the "Variable Design Platform," which has a rechargeable battery, motor and controller under the floor and in the rear space, compactly realizing a driving mechanism. It enables to easily develop and produce bodies and interiors for various applications and in response to various customer requests, compared with existing vehicles. In the field test, Honda uses two-seater vehicles.
In Miyakojima City, Honda will check the effect of the ultra-small EV combined with urban planning and green businesses in the island on the reduction of CO2 emissions as an effort for the "environmental model city." Also, as one of the environmental measures for the tourist site, the company will consider zero CO2 emissions by using renewable energy to power the ultra-small EV in collaboration with Toshiba.
In Kumamoto Prefecture, Honda plans to solve issues related to means of transportation in each area to energize local communities, create new attractions for the tourist site and tackle problems related to green energy. And the company will check the effect of each facility.