Motorcycle makers reach EV agreement | FOS Future Lab
Honda, Yamaha, KTM and the Piaggio Group will share batteries in their future electric motorcycles, it has been announced.
The four leading motorcycle manufacturers this week signed a letter of intent in the context of the Paris Climate Agreement, in which they agreed to create a Swappable Batteries Consortium for Motorcycles and Light Electric Vehicles. Together, they will build a standardized swappable battery system, with the intention to “promote the widespread use of light electric vehicles and contribute to a more sustainable lifecycle management of batteries used in the transport sector”.
The cost, infrastructure and resources required in battery development has prevented electric two-wheelers from progressing at the pace of their four-wheeled counterparts, with just a handful of electric motorcycles in mainstream production – the Harley-Davidson Livewire, Energica and Zero models, for example. Battery size, range and charging times are among the sticking points for many manufacturers, and so this consortium aims to define a standardized technical specification for swappable moped, motorcycle, tricycle and quadricycle battery systems. As a result of this standardisation, invested parties will be able to lower the cost of their manufacturing and ultimately vehicles, helping to bring proliferate electric two wheelers. The consortium will begin its work in May, with further investment invited.
The involved manufacturers have previously dabbled in electric vehicles, with Honda having developed its own swappable battery, Piaggio boasting and electric Vespa and Yamaha having previous dealt with an external battery manufacturer.
Managing Officer of Motorcycle Operations at Honda, Noriaki Abe, commented: “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.”
Stefan Pierer, KTM AG CEO, added: “Sustainability is one of the key drivers to the future of mobility and electrification will play a major role in achieving this goal. For powered two-wheelers the constraints of electric drivetrains regarding range, charging time and initial cost are still evident. To overcome these challenges and provide a better customer experience, a swappable battery system based on international technical standards will become a viable solution.”
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