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Honda micro Acty truck perfect for North America EV platform

Weighing in at 1800 lbs, micro trucks are the preferred city delivery method for much of the world. We ask the question, why not a Honda Acty truck, van or EV micro truck for North America?

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In a world obsessed with high mpg ratings and low carbon footprint, why hasn't Honda introduced a gas, hybrid or electric Acty truck or van to the North America market?

Although the Acty is small by domestic standards,(74.8” wheel base) its utility is large, and implied application unlimited. Measuring ¾ the length of a 2014 Civic, finding a parking place for the Acty is not problematic.

Designed for moving in and out of big intercity traffic or bouncing down a dirt road in 4x4 mode, the Acty’s 660 c.c. straight 3 fuel injected single cam produces 53 h.p. and 35 lbs torque at 5,000 rpm while sipping gasoline. Well, sort of…

In its present internal combustion mode, the Honda Acty averages 32 mpg with individuals reporting 50 mpg. Remember, these micro trucks are used almost exclusively for stop and go city freight delivery. The focus has not been on fuel economy but rather return on initial investment, low operational cost and reliability.

This is the perfect venue for Honda’s “Earth Dreams” hybrid engine/motor propulsion drive. Let’s do it. The question is, can Honda produce an affordable EV or Hybrid on this world chassis?

For Honda the bottom line is most likely best served by leaving the Acty truck in its present manifestation while serving developed and developing third world countries. I believe that a niche exists in the North America market for a reasonably affordable alternative delivery truck or van.

In production since July 1977, the Honda Acty has seen 3 revisions resulting in ergonomic, performance and safety upgrades. While not available through American Honda Motor Company, the Honda Acty is imported to the United States and a 2x2 manual model can be purchased for $12,000. + fees and shipping.

To put the price into perspective, about the cost of a fully loaded Honda side by side or John Deere Gator. A 4x4 automatic with air and stereo will set you back about $14,000.

I’ve been informed by the importer that one can secure an off-road permit for the Acty. On-road is a different story. While you will find used trucks for sale on Ebay claiming legal title, those trucks are 20 years old.
So, check with your local D.M.V. before assuming that you can put plates on the thing...

As to accessories, the 2 person cab can be upgraded to include air conditioning, navigation, sound system and automatic transmission. And, while the Honda Acty is not currently United States E.P.A. and safety compliant, it certainly could be. Air quality regulations in Japan set the benchmark for much of Asia and the world. You’ll finds these mini trucks on the street throughout Asia, parts of Europe, central and south America.

In-fact you’ll find these micro trucks and vans working all corners of the globe and although the payload is rated at under 500 lbs, I know I’ve seen them loaded with well over a ½ ton of cargo while hauling driver and passenger. To say that this micro truck is a viable workhorse is an understatement.

As an alternative mode of personal transportation, I see the Acty platform as a viable solution for an EV or micro gasoline engine/ motor hybrid. Presently offered in a 2 or 4 wheel drive configuration, the very light Acty platform may serve well as the first EV light pickup in North America.

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Parks McCants    January 4, 2014 - 10:33PM

Love the concept of morphing the micro Act truck into the first viable EV micro delivery in North America. If you have a viable idea for conversion or innovation, I'd love to read you here.

Doyle Brown (not verified)    June 12, 2014 - 10:45AM

Until that happens, Introduce the Honda Micro Acty Truck/Van into the U S market ASAP.Ford has one,
why doesn't Honda compete? The U S market is ready for other brands of Micro Trucks/Vans.Just adjust
the EPA to fit the U S standards. The U S can use a better built vehicle in our market,which will be more
dependable. Why are they exclusive in other parts of the world? Is Honda scared they won't sell? You start selling those in the U S and you won't be able keep up with the demand. NOW IS THE TIME ! ! !

Geoff (not verified)    April 25, 2015 - 5:00PM

From a size, and versatility perspective, an EV ACTy is a great idea ... but theres a fundamental problem. Current drive is a lightweight alloy 660cc engine attached directly to a rear mounted transaxle, w/ no low range ... VERY light-weight. RATED cargo capacity is 750lbs, and the drive axles, springs, brakes and tires are all scaled for that weight rating: upping the GVWR would mean heavier springs, brakes, safety features, etc ... so ... the issue is weight. Assuming for simplicity, and cost effectiveness you keep the lightweight transaxle, a decent electric motor will weigh about the same as the 660. Existing fuel tank is 30 liters ... about 45lbs, full, when you include the weight of the tank its self. so how do you accomodate the weight of a decent battery pack, and still leave a usuable cargo capacity?

Who wants a truck w/ under 500 lb load capacity, when an existing EV car will carry the same?

Jim (not verified)    January 30, 2019 - 9:06PM

The problem is political, not mechanical.
Federal safety regs will keep Actys, and all of their dependable/economical siblings from hitting the mainstream. Currently, your only outside shot of putting a new Acty on the road, is to move to Maryland and register the vehicle as a medium speed vehicle....Even if your lucky to get through all the red tape, and find someone willing to insure it, you’ll be relegated to staying within the stat’s boundaries.
As noted earlier, carrying capacity also raises issues. Off the shelf, the Acty is a full thousand pounds lighter than any road legal minivan. However, (besides lack of impact bumpers, air bags, and other mandated stuff), Americans would demand infotainment centers, hands free parking, lane assist, traction control....The list is endless. Put all those accessories on an Acty, and your load capacity might hover around 50 pounds.