August 25 2004. Honda has unveiled three prototype alternative-fuel motorcycles that offer better fuel economy and emit less exhaust gases than conventional models.

The fuel cell model, based on a 125cc scooter, is powered by a smaller version of the company's automobile fuel cell, which is installed in the middle of the vehicle's body. By developing a smaller, lighter fuel cell system, the company hopes to eventually increase the motorcycle's driving distance to a level similar to that of comparable conventional motorcycles.

The hybrid model, equipped with a gasoline engine and an electric motor, achieves 50-70% better fuel economy than gasoline engine motorbikes. Although based on a 50cc scooter, Honda has managed to make the hybrid system small enough to allow for a helmet storage space under the seat.

The electric model offers driving performance comparable to that of its gasoline engine counterparts, drawing power from a nickel-hydrogen battery encased in an aluminum frame.

Honda has yet to decide when it will start selling these types of motorcycles, and at what prices.

"We will continue improving the motorcycles while monitoring market trends to determine the timing for their releases," said Senior Managing Director Minoru Harada.

Source - The Nihon Keizai Shimbun