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PHOTO CAPTION: 18 Honda neo electric scooters will be used in Barcelona demonstration program.

Honda to Test Fast-Charge Electric Scooter in Spain

Rapid charger on neo electric scooter can recharge the battery in 30-minutes.

Published: 18-Jun-2011

Honda's first electric vehicle to hit the road in Europe will be a scooter. The auto manufacturer began testing its zero emissions scooter in Barcelona this week as part of a test program to help Honda analyze how the new technology performs with European driving patterns. The EV-neo is already available for lease in Japan, and the Barcelona City Council will be the first EU customers to receive the e-scooters.

Driving at 18 mph, the Honda EV-neo has a range of 21 miles. It's not far, but the electric scooter comes with a portable rapid charger to replenish drained batteries to full capacity in 30 minutes. Unlike most rapid chargers, the EV-neo's fast charger uses a stepped-down method to charge the battery to 100 percent capacity. When connected to the scooter and a wall socket, the device, which is about the size of a large briefcase, uses high current charging to quickly replenish the battery until it's almost full, and switches to low-current charging to complete the charge. In vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i (formerly i-Miev), rapid charging is limited to achieve only 80 percent battery capacity to avoid overheating. The stepped-down charging method should give EV-neo drivers fast charging capability at full capacity without battery degradation.

The rapid charger is technically a portable device, but it will probably be kept in the driver's garage and used for fast turnarounds. To recharge the scooter's battery once they get to a destination, drivers can use the standard charger. The standard charger is stored under the bike seat and takes about 3 and a half hours to recharge an empty battery.

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