Honda helped kick-start the hybrid automobile segment more than 10 years ago with the original Insight, but is the company now looking to do the same for motorcycles?
Wired reported on the possibility nearly three years ago, but Bikes in the Fast Lane reports that Honda filed a patent in September for what appears to be a hybrid touring motorcycle. The rendering included with the filing bears a close resemblance to the company's legendary Gold Wing, although the bike's shape and form may simply be used for illustrative purposes.
The patent does reference a horizontally opposed engine, although unlike the 1800-cc flat-six currently found in today's Gold Wing, the patent shows this engine as a four-cylinder. In lieu of the extra two cylinders, engineers are proposing adding an electric motor, which in this instance, is actually mated to the engine's crankshaft at the front of the engine. Why the front? From what we can tell, this position allows the motor to be properly cooled and also allows engineers to feasibly package a similar system into smaller bikes, or possibly even a scooter.
Seeing as Honda has regularly rolled out advanced technology onto its flagship Gold Wing model (including ABS and even a driver's airbag), we're not surprised to see this hybrid system rendered onto a GL touring bike. Downsizing to a four-cylinder an calling upon an electric motor during hard acceleration pulls could lend to a more fuel-efficient package, but we're curious how Honda plans on packaging the remainder of its system (particularly the battery pack) on the bike. After all, a stock (non-hybrid) Gold Wing already tips the scales at a hefty 933 pounds...
Source: Bikes in the Fast Lane