The problem of range is something that puts people off buying electric motorcycles. Touring Europe is pretty much impossible, and even a full day out in the UK covering 200 miles could mean a dead battery. You can’t just leave the bike locked at the roadside somewhere, it will be stolen by two handy lads in a van.
Then there is the slow recharging time issue, which makes replacing the vast commuter fleet of small bikes in developing nations around the world a big challenge. Millions of people from Vietnam to Colombia rely on sub 125cc bikes to get to work, deliver stuff and transport family members. You can’t wait three hours to get your scooter back in action.
So to help solve the problems surrounding electric bike range, especially on smaller ones, Honda announced today that the company has signed a letter of intent with KTM AG, Piaggio & C SpA and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. to set up a Swappable Batteries Consortium for Motorcycles and Light Electric Vehicles. By swapping power units at re-purposed petrol stations, the commuter can keep on buzzing around our ever-growing cities.
In the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and the transition to electromobility, the founding members of the Consortium believe that the availability of a standardized swappable battery system would both promote the widespread use of light electric vehicles and contribute to a more sustainable life-cycle management of batteries used in the transport sector. Also, by extending the range, shortening the charging time and lowering vehicle and infrastructure costs, the manufacturers will try to answer customers’ main concerns regarding the future of electromobility.
The aim of the Consortium will, therefore, be to define the standardized technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category; mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles. By working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardization bodies, the founding members of the Consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards.
The Consortium will start its activities in May 2021. The four founding members encourage all interested stakeholders to join the cooperation to enrich the Consortium’s expertise.
■Noriaki Abe | Managing Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
“The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe. For the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles, problems such as travel distance and charging times need to be addressed, and swappable batteries are a promising solution. Considering customer convenience, standardization of swappable batteries and wide adoption of battery systems is vital, which is why the four member manufacturers agreed to form the Consortium.”