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Why Honda’s Motocompacto Is Perfect for Seattle

April 26th, 2024

A close-up of the front end on a white Honda Motocompacto for sale is shown.

Seattle may be a great place to call home, but it’s definitely not a great place to park your car. Sure, some cities have it far worse, but we’re blessed with a lot of really cool, important stuff centralized in relatively small areas, which can make it hard to find parking. Enter the Motocompacto from Honda.

When Honda introduced the Honda Motocompacto for sale, many eyebrows were raised. For some, the concept seemed unusual. A short-range foldable electric scooter? But why? For others, the design seemed like a bit much. After all, the Motocompacto looks like a suitcase with wheels…because it’s supposed to look like a suitcase with wheels.

But who better to trust than Honda when it comes to getting around with the least possible impact? Back in the 1970s, the Honda Civic was introduced as a way for drivers to get everywhere they needed to go while using as little gasoline as possible. The Motocompacto comes from the same concept. As Honda puts it, the Motocompacto is “designed to invoke freedom, ensure joy for the next generation, and take the boundaries off its riders.” And truth be told, the Motocompacto just might revolutionize urban travel. Here’s how.

What Is the Motocompacto Supposed to Be?

The Honda Motocompacto is a two-wheeled electric motorized transportation device. It’s similar to a scooter in concept, only much smaller and lighter-duty. The Motocompacto has been designed to be a smaller, lighter, more compact, zero-emission option for those who need to cover ground quickly but not quite enough ground to warrant firing up a full-sized automobile and sacrificing a parking spot.

Weighing 41.3 lbs and measuring 3.7 inches in width, 21.1 inches in height, and 29.2 inches in length, the Motocompacto truly is about the size of a suitcase once folded. It is significantly smaller than most bicycles. This means it can take public transportation with you, carpool with you, and even sit in your office and charge while you work.

The Motocompacto has a range of 12 miles on a full charge, and a full charge only takes 3.5 hours to accomplish using a standard wall outlet and the included charger that can be stashed onboard. In other words, you can ride it from your home to Link, Link to the office, charge it, do the lunch run for your entire department, charge it again, and make the return trip home with no problem. The top speed for the Motocompacto is 15 mph, and it can accelerate from 0-15 mph in a mere seven seconds. As such, it essentially provides a comfortable bicycle-level speed.

Nick Ziraldo, project lead and design engineering unit leader at Honda Development and Manufacturing of America, also explained how the Motocompacto was designed with “safety, durability, and security in mind. It uses a robust heat-treated aluminum frame and wheels, bright LED headlight and taillight, side reflectors, and a welded steel lock loop on the kickstand that is compatible with most bike locks.” Altogether, the Motocompacto sounds like a brilliant idea for portable transportation methods. But what does it offer that other options do not?

The digital display on a Honda Motocompacto is shown.

What Makes the Motocompacto Cool?

Interestingly enough, the Motocompacto design was a collaboration between Honda engineers in Ohio and California, each of which has vastly different landscapes and populations. However, as the assignment was to create personal electric transportation that made sense for a wide variety of users, this worked in their favor.

Ultimately, the Motocompacto is designed to be highly portable, yet very useful. Riders can fold and stash the seat, wheels, and handlebars, allowing the entire contraption to be tucked inside the body of the vehicle. Consider the Motocompacto a modern Transformer. The seat is appropriately cushioned, the foot pegs are lined with grippy material, and there’s even onboard storage available while you ride. It is cleverly engineered to perform its job very well while being as unobtrusive as possible.

A speedometer and charge indicator are built into the Motocompacto’s handlebars for easy viewing, but a phone app has even more details. The app allows riders insight into overall battery health, has a trip calculator for estimating battery charge needs, and includes a digital copy of the user manual. You can even earn trophies for using your Motocompacto!

But there’s one particularly unique feature that makes the Motocompacto even more delightful for the independent spirits of Seattle. Thanks to its flat, slab-sided design, the body of the vehicle can be decorated with your own choice of decals and designs. Advertise your business, shout out your favorite band’s next gig, or start a sticker collection to commemorate your adventures with your Motocompacto––there’s no limit to creativity here!

Where Can I Take My Motocompacto in Seattle?

The most important thing to consider for Motocompacto is where they are and are not welcome, as well as the laws or rules that apply to them. In Seattle, electric scooters may not be ridden on sidewalks, and helmets are mandatory. However, private properties may have their own regulations about where you can take your Motocompacto. Always exercise caution and follow local road laws for electric scooters.

That being said, the Motocompacto is meant to go nearly anywhere. For those who take public transportation in and out of the city, imagine what you can save in time and pass fees by jetting through your day on an easily rechargeable and portable scooter. With its small stature, you don’t have to lose track of it while you go through your day, whether that’s heading to the office or having a full day of fun.

Perhaps you’re taking advantage of the dozens of higher educational opportunities in Seattle. A Motocompacto could just be the answer to adding more classes this semester or taking advantage of additional study opportunities. A 12-mile range at a brisk 15 mph can cover a lot of campus territory, which means you have no excuse for not grabbing breakfast before your 9:00 AM class.

While the Motocompacto is not (yet) an off-road-ready vehicle, it is water resistant. Consider taking it to a park or along bike trails that permit electric scooters. While it’s important to remember that Mother Nature does not provide charging stations, planning ahead can provide you with an outdoor adventure beyond the limits of a casual stroll.

Honda is shown badged on the handlebar on a white Honda Motocompacto.

The Motocompacto and the Electric Future

Honda has set an ambitious goal to achieve zero carbon neutrality by 2050. As part of that initiative, Honda has placed a laser focus on battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles. The Motocompacto fits into this plan as a “first-mile/last-mile” vehicle. It’s not intended to replace your car or your ORCA card. Instead, the Motocompacto is here to extend your personal range throughout the day by giving you extra miles at a higher speed with zero emissions.

For those who have wished for a small solution to help get more done and go further in their day, the Motocompacto has arrived. Now, things like lunch from your favorite Thai place or joining your friends for a quick meet-up after class are within reach, all while being eco-friendly and planet-focused. Seattle residents who need that additional range boost might just find the Honda Motocompacto a perfect solution for their troubles.