New partnership with Komatsu digs deep into swappable electric power.
Honda’s Mobile Power Packs are on the move in 2021. After their initial introduction to the world in 2018, they’ve since rolled out in the Benly:e and Gyro:e. Outside of Japan, they’re currently undergoing testing in India, and the Benly:e followed shortly afterward. While it’s clear that Honda has big plans for its Mobile Power Packs in the two- and three-wheeled electric space worldwide, Team Red has an even broader electric vision in mind.
On June 10, 2021, Honda and heavy equipment manufacturer Komatsu announced that they would jointly develop a range of micro excavators powered by Honda Mobile Power Packs. Not only that, but the two are also working to set up a functional battery-sharing system across the civil engineering and construction industries that see these batteries powering a range of different equipment.
Back in April, 2020, Komatsu introduced its first battery-powered micro-excavator—so named because it’s a unit small enough to be hauled around on a 600cc kei truck. It’s quiet, small, and relatively unobtrusive for a piece of semi-heavy machinery. It’s meant to function close to humans, in agricultural, livestock, and landscaping jobs. In addition to the environmental benefits, the decreased noise of such a machine could only be seen as a plus in that context.
Powering Komatsu’s electric mini-excavator line and similar equipment with Honda’s Mobile Power Packs has another obvious benefit. Since they’re swappable, it’s theoretically a simple matter to have spare batteries charged up and ready to go, so a day’s work can continue with minimal interruption. Also, simply having these civil machines start rolling out to work sites across Japan may inherently raise awareness of the existence of Honda’s swappable Mobile Power Packs in the general public consciousness.
Since both Honda and Komatsu have strong international footprints, it’s probably no surprise that they plan to expand this partnership and the vehicles developed under this agreement to additional markets, as well. It’s likely some distance down the proverbial road, but it’s not difficult to picture someone showing up for work on their Benly:e, driving around in a Komatsu micro excavator to do their job, and then heading back home in the evening—all powered by Honda Mobile Power Packs.
According to a slide released by Honda in its Komatsu announcement, there appear to be at least three additional Mobile Power Pack-powered construction equipment plans currently in the works. We look forward to learning more about those developments as details emerge.