If the idea behind the Motocompacto rings a bell, it's because Honda has done it before. In 1981, with a new line of Japan-market Honda City cars, Honda offered a 50cc scooter called MotoCompo. It also packed into a boxy shape that could live inside the trunk of your car and only come out to take you from wherever you'd parked your car to wherever you needed to be – on the condition the distance between points A and B wasn't too big.
The MotoCompo was in production only for a couple of years, and no more than 54,000 units came off the assembly line during this time. Limited availability and quick discontinuation, as well as the compact form factor, turned the scooter into an obscure icon whose popularity has increased in recent years.
Then, in 2020, word got out that Honda had secured a patent for something called the Motocompacto, which looked like an organic development on both these mobility solutions. The Motocompacto is here now and will be arriving in stores as early as November 2023.
As rumored three years ago, the Motocompacto is an electric scooter with functionality similar to its '80s predecessor. However, it's sleeker, smaller, lighter, and less polluting, so it's better suited for today's city dweller who has to commute to work and would require a first- and last-mile solution for that.
Admittedly, the range is ridiculously low, but only if you compare it to what other electric city two-wheelers offer. This is an e-scooter meant to take you from your car to work and back again, so those 12 miles promised should be enough for that. The same goes for the max speed, which is electronically capped at 15 mph (24 kph).
The Motocompacto weighs 41.3 lbs (18.7 kg) and folds down into a box that is "its own carrying case." In other words, the rear wheel, the seat, and the handlebar tuck into the boxy aluminum body, allowing for very convenient storage both during transport and charging. It's a scooter that blends in wherever, including in the office, but which also stands out because of it. Paradox, thy name is Motocompacto.
The boxy aluminum body comes in handy for extra personalization, Honda notes. That's a more delicate way of saying you can add decals, skins, or stickers to it, which Honda may or may not provide. The company does say that they're working on a line of branded accessories that will include backpacks, helmets, apparel, "and more," so the decals could fall in that "more" category.
"Motocompacto is uniquely Honda – a fun, innovative and unexpected facet of our larger electrification strategy," says Jane Nakagawa, vice president of the R&D Business Unit at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Motocompacto supports our goal of carbon neutrality by helping customers with end-to-end zero-emissions transport."
The idea is to create a community of Honda commuters with a unique solution to their first- and last-mile problems – not that this could ever stop non-Honda owners from getting their hands on one if they wanted to.