Honda patents hub motor in India

by Zaran Mody, Autocar India 12 Sep 2022


Honda has patented a design for a hub motor in India, suggesting that it could be used for an upcoming electric scooter that will be developed for the Indian market, our sister publication, Autocar India has learned.

To be specific, the patent is for a design that helps reduce the overall width of the hub motor (also called an in-wheel motor).

Interestingly, the patent drawings show the hub motor mounted on a representative placeholder e-scooter that borrows certain components from the Activa 6G but also has quite a large number of unique parts. The handlebar shroud and the front wheel appear to be from the present-day Activa, but much of the bodywork is new, as is the rear suspension. This isn’t a surprise as the electric scooter will probably have a completely different chassis to a regular Honda Activa.

The drawings suggest that the front apron, the side panels, and the tail section are all unique to the scooter. This could give us an idea of the sort of styling that Honda’s upcoming e-scooters could feature.

Unlike the Activa, where the CVT casing forms the single-sided rear swingarm, this drawing shows a scooter with a conventional swingarm that’s likely to be a double-sided unit, supported by twin shock absorbers. The rear wheel appears to be a 10-inch unit, and the hub motor design would mean that a rear drum brake is incorporated within it. The front wheel seems to be a 12-incher, also equipped with a drum brake, as on the Activa 6G.

The documentation surrounding this patent also shows a block diagram illustrating a control system for the motor, and this reveals some interesting details. The scooter features a high-voltage battery (voltage not specified), which powers the in-wheel motor via an inverter. But it also has a conventional 12V battery (like you see on a petrol scooter) to power the motor controller and various other electrical systems on the scooter.

Honda has also filed various other design patents in India, a number of which pertain to portable batteries and chargers for these portable batteries. The company already has some expertise in this field, courtesy of its PCX Electric scooter sold overseas (and also patented in India), which uses removable battery packs. All of this points towards the fact that Honda’s upcoming e-scooters for India could feature removable batteries.

A hub motor is a low-cost and (relatively) low-output choice when it comes to powering an electric two-wheeler. This, combined with the basic underpinnings of the scooter in the drawings, suggest that Honda is working on a fairly utilitarian offering, focusing on function rather than performance. This would allow it to equip the scooter with a relatively smaller (and therefore, lighter) battery pack, which should be feasible to carry around for short distances.

Another mainstream electric scooter using a hub motor today is the TVS iQube. The rumour mill suggests that the upcoming Hero’s Vida could also employ a hub motor, and that it might feature a removable battery, too. The Hero offering is expected to launch in this year’s festive season, a delay from the original timeline of March 2022.

Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.


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