Named the eCub 2, Shanghai Customs has utilised parts from Honda and Panasonic to produce an upgraded electric prototype of the beloved retro motorcycle.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the release of the Honda Super Cub – the most-produced motor vehicle in the world – and seems a fitting time to unveil Shanghai Customs’ upgraded electric version of a motorcycle that currently boasts over 100 million units in existence.
The custom automaker’s original electrified version, the eCub, was announced last year and was heralded for its elegant design in balance with technological innovation. Although there is no official press release, Shanghai Customs has endorsed several reports that give a sense of how the product has developed. Rather than remaining as a beautiful but ultimately abandoned concept, Shanghai Customs decided to continue working on the prototype to develop a complete package rather than just a conversion kit.
The (wholly foreign-owned enterprise) custom bike company, based in Shanghai, used high-density, low-weight 3.7v 3.400 mAH li-ion batteries from Panasonic alongside the well-known Honda Super Cub chassis, to produce the eCub 2. However, the company has also listened to the response to its original eCub and have made some important changes to several areas, including power supply and lighting.
Now, the bike has a 1,000-W motor in its rear wheel hub, rather than 2,000-W plant fitted on the original, in order to eliminate problems with the controller limiting current. In addition, Shanghai Custom wanted to make the bike to be more than a stylish and environmentally-sound way to get around; it has also received re-designed lighting to enable better navigation in congested areas.
Adjustable shocks allow the user to manage the bike’s handling capabilities to suit their tastes, while features such as speed, torque, regenerative braking, and driving modes can all be monitored or controlled through a smartphone. The battery pack is removable – meaning you can charge it inside – and the bike has a typical range of 40km at up to 45km/h.
The specifications don’t feel that impressive when you compare to the long-range of electric cars but, considering that most people have a commute of far less than the bikes’ range, the eCub 2 is more than adequate.
The bike has been in production for over two years and is clearly a passion project for Shanghai Customs. Furthermore, interested customers can expect to be able to purchase full units or conversion kits from April this year. Customisable elements will also be available, according to the company’s Facebook page, including racks, an aluminium swing arm pivot, detachable pedals, and longer two-person seats. Shanghai Customs also hopes to set an export date for the end of 2018.
The main motivator, however, was to respond to the increase in regulations surrounding the use of motorcycles in China. Electric bikes have increased rapidly after internal combustion variants have been largely banned from Chinese roads, or have been made incredibly expensive to licence.
A short, comedic piece discussing the rapid growth and current reliance on e-bikes (electric scooters) in Chengdu, China.
Joining into supply the ever-growing demand for more advanced and powerful electric motorcycles makes sense for a company whose product can please several types of customers; the ones looking for a brand new and fully integrated bike, to the ones looking for a retro style or simply to refit their original Cub.