What used to be the long-running Tokyo Motor Show is now the Japan Mobility Show. Aside from a rebrand, it’s Japan’s way of putting their best foot forward in connection with mobility-related technology. It offers a look, not just in the realm of cars and motorcycles, but a broader range of mobility solutions and technologies.
Among the carmakers present at the inaugural Japan Mobility Show, Honda seems to be the only one “to get it.” Considering the Tokyo Motor Show’s “evolution,” Honda shows off diverse forms of current and future mobility that they’re pursuing. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because Honda itself started making motorcycles before expanding to other mobility products to include marine engines, automobiles, and even aircraft.
As they celebrate their 75th anniversary, Honda harks back to its brand slogan—The Power of Dreams. Driven by the dreams of every one working at Honda, it has become their driving force—to realize products and services that will move people not just in the physical sense, but move their hearts and minds as well.
Honda sees it as their responsibility to be able to transcend and augment—transcend various constraints faced by people, while also augmenting their abilities and possibilities. These two are essential values found in all types of mobility products and services that Honda’s been offering for the past 75 years and it’s something they want to continue to offer in the future.
There’s no doubt that mobility lifts the lives of people, but it also faces various constraints. These constraints include the constraint of time. With the Cruise Origin, Honda is enabling people to maximize the 24 hours a day everyone’s given. As a driverless ride hailing service that will undergo road trials in Japan by 2026, it has no driver’s seat or steering wheel. This creates an interior space that’s completely private. As the six occupants make their way to their destination, they can use this time for more meaningful things whether it’s to hold a meeting or simply have a fun moment without worrying about having other people around them.
Transcending the constraints of place and distance, Honda’s eVTOL and HondaJet enables people to travel more freely, transcending the constraints of place and distance. The Honda eVTOL infuses its aero engine with Formula One technology for a hybrid-electric gas turbine engine. Compared to other all-electric VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft with limited range (up to 100 kilometers), the eVTOL has a range of up to 400 kilometers thanks to a series-hybrid system. Lift and thrust is driven directly by electric motors with power generated by the Honda HF120 engine currently installed in the HondaJet. Together with Honda’s own lineup of on-ground mobility products, it would enable people to live in nature-rich suburban areas and only come to cities when necessary, resulting in better work-life balance.
Mobility products are made from a variety of materials, including metals, resins, and fabrics. However, these materials and resources are limited. If companies such as Honda stick with the current ways of making products and recycling, there will, sooner or later, come a time when it will become difficult to sustain the production of mobility products. This is where the Sustaina-C Concept comes in. Inspired by the original City (it even comes with a modern-day Motocompo that fits in the trunk), the concept has body panels made of acrylic resin that’s recycled and reused. This offers a circularity of resources transcending the constraints of the limited availability of sources. It also achieves better environmental sustainability.
Augmenting people’s abilities and possibilities is the Honda Avatar Robot and the Uni-One. By logging in and remotely controlling Honda Avatar Robot in a distant location, people can perform tasks and experience things remotely as if they were there in person. The use of Honda Avatar Robot enables people, especially those who have limited mobility, to play more active roles. Meanwhile, Uni-One is a mobility device that can be steered by simply shifting body weight and without the need for hands. Like the Honda Avatar Robot, it expands opportunities for users with mobility challenges.
As people get older, driving and walking might become difficult. And there are people who live in areas where there’s limited or no public transportation available. With the Honda CI-MEV (Cooperative Intelligence), people can expand their once limited living radius. The boxy two-seater microcar (it even has a front trunk or frunk), can be summoned using an app and it can drive to a destination on its own.
Finally, there’s the Prelude Concept—a thinly-veiled concept that brings the joy of driving into Honda’s electrified future. Honda remains committed to creating sporty vehicles and this gasoline-electric hybrid two-door coupe is a manifestation of that. The revival of the “Prelude” name is also very apt as the model always meant an “introductory or preceding performance” for Honda. Thus, it represents their unalterable sports mindset even as their shift towards pure electric mobility by 2040.
It’s Honda’s dream to realize a world where mobility products bearing their logo are traveling around the world, and people are enjoying the freedom provided by mobility. Honda hopes they can enable people to move further and faster. Ultimately, they want people to realize their dreams and this feeds into a so-called dream loop that will fuel and expand the imagination and possibilities for future generations.