Honda’s New MC-β Prototype
Efficiency enthusiasts and lovers of tiny electric cars better take notice, as Honda is rolling out their second attempt at an absurdly tiny, spacecraft-looking commuter car. Dubbed the MC-? –or Micro Commuter Beta – it’s Honda’s third stab at the tiny futuristic electric commuter car, its first being the original Micro Commuter that appeared in 2011 and looked even more angular and futuristic. Honda also showed us a reworked version in 2012, which generated quite a bit of buzz. This third installment has dialed back the outrageous curves and angles of its predecessors, but still retains the futuristic theme and tiny interior.
While it’s not going to be hitting North American shores anytime soon – it’s still very much a concept car, and the design and composition of the car are still being retooled – it offers a glimpse into the stunning possibilities of such a tiny, efficient commuter car. Even if it is something your auto mechanic might laugh their head off about.
Though appearing relatively small, the efficient micro-sized car comfortably sits two full-sized adults, and has a surprisingly roomy cabin for its size. The car’s body is approximately 90 centimeters shorter than your typical tiny car like the Smart Fortwo, which means Honda really did some intense thinking and planning to make this thing as roomy as it is. The super compact car also sports sleek silver and white automotive painting, and an aerodynamically curvaceous body. With a minimum turning radius of 3.3 meters, it achieves some pretty easy handling, even without power steering. Tight turns are a bit of a challenge though, as the steering wheel is a bit weighty, meaning it turns on a dollar rather than a dime.
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you how long it takes for the pint-sized car to go from 0-60 because it tops out at 43 mph. However, this isn’t the kind of car you’re going to be speeding around the track in anyway. Designed to reduce the cost and environmental impact of driving to work every day, the MC-? is hoping to replace the gas-guzzling sedans that are the norm for commuting, hopefully cutting back on harmful emissions.
Interestingly enough, the car’s lightweight and minute body was designed by Honda’s motorcycle division, and not by an automotive technician, which – when you look at it – kind of makes sense, as it’s more of a quadracycle than a car, really. Its power comes from a lithium-ion battery pack that takes less than three hours to charge from a 200-volt plug and goes up to 50 miles between charges. The electric delivers 6 kW of energy, which is around 8 horsepower or so. Truly, it has more in common with a motor scooter than an automobile, the only difference being you’re comfortably seated indoors.
So while it’s definitely not market ready yet, the strides that Honda is making with efficient and cost-effective commuter cars could mean big things in the future. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of this odd little automobile.
Check out this video to see the little guy in action: