Honda electric bike gets a name

Honda electric 2


Immediately after the announcement that Honda is planning to introduce more than 10 new electric bikes in the next couple of years a name has appeared for just such a machine via an international trademark application.

Honda has applied for rights to the titles ‘Honda EM le:’ and simply ‘EM le:’ in an array of countries including the UK, Australia, China, the European Union, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, indicating that this may be one of the two ‘commuter EV’ machines that’s planned to be launched between now and 2024 targeting Europe and Asia.

According to Honda’s new electric bike roadmap, those two will be the first of a double-digit onslaught of new models across 2023, 2024 and 2025, including a wide array of smaller models ranging from powered bicycles to 125cc-equivalent scooters as well as a trio of higher-performance electric motorcycles. The EM le: (yes, the colon is part of the name) probably won’t be any of those larger bikes, which aren’t due until 2024-25, but is likely to be used on a scooter-style model.


Honda EM le


The trademark applications say that the name is due to be used on “Electric motorcycles, electric two-wheeled motor vehicles and their parts and fittings”. The name might seem odd – how are you even supposed to pronounce ‘EM le:’? – but there’s a good chance that there will be a non-word element in the middle of the title to turn it into something easier to say. It could, for instance, use a graphic element which isn’t part of the text-only trademark application to turn it into ‘EM[otorcyc]le:’ or ‘EM[obi]le:’. The latter would easy to achieve by using a stylised version the Japanese character for ‘obi’ between the ‘EM’ and ‘le:’ parts of the name, like this ‘EMle:’. There's even a possibility that it’s supposed to be pronounced EM-el-ee, to sound like ‘Emily’. However, Honda’s Japanese trademark application for the new name hints at another plausible explanation, since it uses a font where a lower-case ‘l’ and the number ‘1’ are indistinguishable. The name ‘EM 1e:’ for Honda’s first mainstream electric motorcycle effort would make sense, potentially to be followed by ‘EM 2e:’, ‘EM 3e’ and so on.

Since Honda is sure to reveal more about its electric bike plans as we get closer to the company’s 2023 new model unveilings in the next couple of months, we probably don’t have long to wait until the meaning of its title becomes clear.