Honda announced today that it will be developing an electric-powered motorcycle, with sales of the bike expected to begin some time next year. The news will be pleasing for those of you who remember Honda's electric moped concept that was unveiled back in 2004 but failed to see production.

Honda's CEO, Takeo Fukui, stated in December that Honda was "developing a battery-powered electric motorcycle which emits no CO2 during operation". The decision to implement the technology in a motorcycle was explained by Fukui, who claimed that "the characteristics of a battery can be better utilized in the area of motorcycles, which are often used for short distance travel."

Fukui expects the electric motorcycle to be extremely popular in "newly emerging countries in regions such as Asia and South America", because "motorcycles are being used for everyday transportation" and that these markets are exhibiting "long-term and steady market growth". He did not mention whether or not the electric motorcycle would make it to American shores, however American-based electric motorbike company Vectrix has proven that the vehicles can be popular in the United States market.

Honda's plans to develop the electric motorcycle demonstrate the company's greater focus on volume products, especially following last year's dismal period for the automotive market for which Honda is expected to announce a profit of just 1.6 billion euros ($2.2 billion), almost three-quarters less than 2007's earnings. For this reason CEO Takeo Fukui is determined to refocus the company on where it excels - small, fuel efficient vehicles.

The fall in profit has also prompted the Japanese company to introduce drastic cost cutting measures, and late last year the company began looking for buyers for its Formula 1 team following poor race results and heavy expenditures. An early report that the team had sold to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu turned out to be false, and now Force India owner Vijay Mallya appears to be a front runner for the purchase.