2023 marks the first time that the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association will host a new annual event called the Japan Mobility Show. The name is new, but it’s a natural evolution of what was previously known as the Tokyo Motor Show. Its predecessor multi-industry show was last held in 2019, prior to the global pandemic.
Interestingly, before the name change, JAMA had brought multiple mobility industries together under one roof. Because the 2019 show featured more than just cars, motorcycles, or other forms of transportation on their own, it pulled in an impressive 1.3 million visitors. The Tokyo Motor Show on its own hadn’t surpassed the 1M mark before—so it was clear that the time to expand its horizons was now.
While a certain unfortunate virus had other plans, JAMA didn’t let those totally derail it from its vision. Now, in 2023, it’s bringing over 140 different stakeholders in the mobility space together. Of course, since we’re RideApart, we’re still getting excited about motorcycles and motorcycle-adjacent things.
Without further ado, here are the things we’re most excited about at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, Motorcycle-ish Edition.
Honda Pocket Concept
This Honda world premiere folding electric concept bike is paired with a new electric car design called the Sustaina-C in all of Honda’s promotional images and writeups. While Honda recently released the Motocompacto as a last-mile folding electric machine for the 21st century, the pairing of the Pocket Concept with the Sustaina-C concept more closely echoes the original Honda City and Motocompo pairing of the early 1980s. Only in electric form, of course.
Honda SC e: Concept
For those unfamiliar, Honda’s naming convention for a lot of its two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles is to simply stick an e: on the end of a name. Previously introduced examples include the Benly e:, Gyro e:, Gyro e: Canopy that have all been released in Japan, as well as the EM1 e: that was released in both Japan and Europe.
Besides being electric, what all of the above Honda e: vehicles have in common is that they use the swappable Honda Mobile Power Pack e: battery system, which is presumably also what the SC e: Concept will do. Given the limited range of the EM1 e:, it’s possible that the SC e: Concept will be a longer-range electric scooter—but it’s not completely clear at this point.
I know, it has four wheels. I can count, I promise. But there’s a motorcycle engine inside! More specifically, there’s a hydrogen motorcycle engine inside. For those unfamiliar, HySE is the name chosen by Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Toyota when forming a dedicated group to work on the development of hydrogen engines for motor vehicles.
The HySE X1 will premiere at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show before heading off to participate in the Mission 1000 challenge at the 2024 Dakar Rally.
Kawasaki Mystery Machine(s)
Unlike the other manufacturers on this list, while Kawasaki is listed on the 2023 Japan Mobility Show’s official list of participants, as of October 19, 2023, it has yet to release any official documents, videos, or other teasers about what it plans to display.
Kawasaki Motors is a subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and KHI also makes other types of mobility devices, including ATVs, outboard motors, and watercraft. However, the JMS participant listing has Kawasaki listed under the Motorcycles heading, so we don’t think we’re out of line expecting to see some bikes.
What bikes, though? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence—and we’re looking forward to seeing whatever it is that Team Green decides to show off.
The Suzuki e-Burgman isn’t a world premiere and has appeared at previous events in the past. It’s Suzuki’s electric version of its long-running Burgman maxi-scooter, which uses swappable batteries from Gachaco, the swappable battery consortium formed by Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha.
The one thing that’s a little bit frustrating about electric scooters, to my mind, is that designs introduced so far tend to take up valuable cargo space with battery packs. I understand that the batteries have to go somewhere, but one of the reasons that modern scooter riders like to ride scooters is because they have that built-in storage space to carry things.
This is the electric version of the Choinori 50cc piston-powered scooter, and it’s powered by an electric bicycle motor developed in cooperation with Panasonic. Given the popularity of similar small-displacement-equivalent, low-speed electric scooters, it’s not difficult to see what Suzuki’s thinking regarding its appeal.
If a scooter is going to be low speed, it had better look good and be visually appealing, and Suzuki clearly understood the assignment.
A subject of much debate in recent time, at least in two-wheeled spaces, is the word “moped.” When it was originally coined, it was a portmanteau that sandwiched “motorized pedalcycle” into a much tastier word morsel. In the 21st century, a lot of people tend to use it to describe any low-speed two-wheeler that you sit on—regardless of whether it has pedals.
The Suzuki e-PO does, in fact, have pedals. Like the e-Choinori concept, it’s another world premiere electric concept vehicle developed in cooperation with Panasonic. Like the e-Choinori, it’s also powered by an e-bike powertrain.
However, the e-PO is meant to be able to handle riding on motorways—something that e-bikes and the e-Choinori can’t do. It’s also meant to be aimed at riders who mainly want to ride without pedaling, and only use the pedal power option on occasion.
Suzuki Hydrogen Burgman
Japan’s Big Four motorcycle manufacturers (and the JAMA in general) have frequently talked about the possibilities of pivoting to alternative fuels like hydrogen, rather than going all-in on electrification. They seemingly want to hedge their bets on technologies that encourage future mobility innovation while striving toward carbon neutrality goals.
Thus, we have Suzuki’s first hydrogen-powered two-wheeler concept, the Hydrogen Burgman. It’s making its world premiere appearance at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show.
The Suzuki Moqba is intended as a ride-on vehicle of a different kind. Technically, it has four wheels—but they’re attached to four legs, and the whole thing kind of looks a bit like a less terrifying Boston Dynamics robot dog. In fact, it almost looks downright friendly. Seriously, look at that thing. Don’t you just want to scratch its belly?
According to Suzuki, the Moqba will be able to both cross flat ground, and also go up and down stairs with a passenger on its back. Thinking about how it’s going to handle stairs is both exciting and moderately worrying. Do you need to wear a helmet? What about armored motorcycle gear? It might not be a bad idea, because a fall off a slow robot dog can still probably do damage.
Suzuki Suzu-Cargo and Suzu-Ride
These are two electric, ride-on four-wheelers that are meant to help riders get around and maybe even haul items with them. They’re both world premieres, and they both look a bit like snails. I promise, that’s a compliment—who doesn’t love a cute cartoon snail? I can almost see the mods to make one of these scoots look like Turbo already.
There’s just one thing I can’t figure out, though. The resemblance to snails is pretty undeniable, so why in the world isn’t it called the S-Cargo? Given the fact that Japanese pop culture has long had a serious French fixation, this seems like a particularly glaring oversight.
You can probably guess what the “E” stands for, but the “FV” is almost as simple: Fun Vehicle. That’s right, it’s an Electric Fun Vehicle, says Yamaha. This little bike is similar in size to a Grom—only it’s electric.
It uses the same powertrain as Yamaha’s TY-E electric trials bike, and it has a speaker mounted on top of where the fuel tank would be on a piston-powered bike. The speaker reportedly makes engine noises when starting and stopping, but it’s not clear if it also makes them when running. It’s also not clear if the rider can switch the sounds off if they’d rather just roll stealthily.
Some future mobility concepts give me genuine hope, and the Elove is one of them. It uses Yamaha’s Advanced Motorcycle Stabilization Assist System (AMSAS) to self-balance—and the accompanying promotional video and information from Yamaha indicates that the ELove is intended to help disabled folks get around more easily. This would be a fantastic technological advancement, in my opinion.
Probably the most sci-fi of Yamaha’s current concept designs that it’s released to the public, the Motoroid2 is supposed to help bridge the gap between human and machine. Will it be your new best buddy? Will it try on your clothes when you’re out of the room? That’s not clear, but what is clear is that it’s quite a striking design.
Yamaha Rock Me On
Produced by Yamaha Motors in cooperation with its parent company, the Yamaha Corporation, this concept is a rocking, ridable creation aimed at very young children. It has four cute bells underneath what appears to be a cross between a rocking horse and a rocking motorbike. If you ever played handbells as a child, these appear to be similar in size. (Remember, the Yamaha Corporation makes musical instruments—so this is perfect.)
Taking the concept of Yamaha’s existing Leaning Multi-Wheel technology, as seen in its Tricity and Tritown, the Yamaha TMW puts a new spin on the concept. While the Tricity and Tritown are both road-going leaning three-wheelers powered by combustion, the TMW concept is a hybrid leaning three-wheeler that’s meant to go off-road.
Is this Tricera tops? We can’t say, because we haven’t driven it—but it’s essentially an electric three-wheeler with rear wheel drive that looks like Yamaha’s take on a Slingshot. It’s not quite a bike, and not quite a car—but it is quite a concept.
For more cool stuff with four wheels that's coming to the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, head over to our sister site, Motor 1, for a full roundup.