As a certified car addict for most of my life, I’ve just purchased my 50th vehicle (and no, I haven’t kept them all!). I bought my first two-wheeled vehicle. It is my first EV, and it’s the cutest thing you’ll ever see. It is a folding electric scooter called the Honda Motocompacto, and it went on sale in early November.
Automotive engineers have their work cut out for them with the task of keeping pace with the rapid development of BEV (battery-electric vehicle) technology as it expands. The timeline is aggressive, and Honda is at the forefront of this movement. The company has vowed to have 100% zero-emission automobile sales by 2040. But clearly, they are having some fun along the way. This little e-bike is both practical and enjoyable to pilot. Its motto is “Fits In; Stands Out.”
The original Motocompo was introduced in 1981, coincidentally the same year that I was born. It was offered in three different colors and was powered by a 49cc air-cooled, two-stroke engine. It was rated at 2.5 horsepower and was a single-speed automatic. Part of the innovative packaging revolved around how the Motocompo could be stowed in the back of a Honda City hatchback car.
The idea behind the bite-sized bike was always to provide a “first-mile, last-mile” solution. In other words, perhaps someone’s commute begins at home but requires a combination of automobile, train, or bus connections in addition to walking or biking several blocks to a final destination. The Motocompo provided the mobility that people needed to close the gap on their journey.
The New Motocompacto
While it might look like an Apple charging device, this scooter’s packaging is all part of its smart design. When collapsed, it looks about like a briefcase and it weighs about 40 pounds.
An electric motor gives this bike propulsion for 12 zero-emission miles per charge, and it maxes out at 15 miles per hour. It comes with a standard charger that is stowed on-board. Pricing is set at $995 retail, and the scooter can be ordered via Acura dealers, Honda dealers, or online.
I took delivery of my Motocompacto at Acura of Tempe, Arizona. The process was a lot easier than buying a car. I picked up the box at the Parts counter, paid at the cashier via debit card, and proceeded to unbox it right then and there. The process was straightforward, and there was no assembly required. The only trick was figuring out the series of clamps, pins, and twists to get the handlebars pivoted out, the seat installed, and the back tire extended out for riding mode. Anyone can figure it out.
Of course, I had to outfit the scooter with some custom “Type S” treatment and some stick-on Acura badges just for fun. The cool thing about the Motocompacto is that it is (quite literally) a blank (plastic) canvas. There are loads of opportunities to customize the look – from full wraps, to decals, to Sharpie graffiti if you so desire. The sky is the limit.
The driving experience is easy to figure out. There is a throttle on the right handgrip, a brake on the left handgrip, and a small digital display in the center that shows speed, drive mode, headlight status, and voltage. My Motocompacto came with about a 50% battery charge, so I was able to rip it around the parking lot a little right off the bat. There are two speed modes, the “max” of which will get you to 15 miles per hour pretty swiftly. A kickstand makes it convenient to store the scooter when not in use.
This scooter was much more of a “want” than a need, in my case. It will be a fun toy to have around for friends and family who are visiting and want to try it out. It could also come in handy for the occasional neighborhood errand, and it will be a blast to take with me to car shows and events to tool around parking lots in. I will be racking up miles in no time.
I just need to get ahold of a helmet and some other safety gear now! Now that I think about it, it would be fun to pair up a new Motocompacto with a vintage gas-powered Motocompo for some drag races to see which one is faster! I’ll report back on how my experience goes with this little machine.