Four of the world’s most recognisable motorcycle brands – Honda, KTM, Piaggio, and Yamaha – have signed up to a deal to set up a swappable-batteries consortium for motorcycles and light electric vehicles.
The four companies announced the formation of their new consortium on Monday, designed as an effort to standardise swappable battery systems so as to promote greater use of light electric vehicles while contributing to a more sustainable life-cycle management of batteries used in the transport sector.
Intended to begin its activities in May of this year, the consortium is also encouraging other interested stakeholders to join the group.
As a by-product, the consortium will also seek to extend the range of light vehicle batteries, shorten the charging time, and lower vehicle and infrastructure costs, so as to address consumers’ leading concerns with the future of electro-mobility.
“The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe,” said Noriaki Abe, Managing Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor.
“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.
“Honda views improving the customers’ usage environment as an area to explore cooperation with other manufacturers, while bringing better products and services to customers through competition. Honda will work hard on both fronts to be the ‘chosen’ manufacturer for customer mobility.”
First task off the blocks for the new consortium is the definition of standardised technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles in the L-category – which includes mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles, and quadricycles.
The consortium will seek to work closely with interested stakeholders as well as national, European, and international standardisation bodies, and will therefore seek to create international technical standards.
“Sustainability is one of the key drivers to the future of mobility and electrification will play a major role in achieving this goal,” said Stefan Pierer, KTM AG CEO.
“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.
“Considering the entire lifecycle, a widespread application of batteries compliant with a common standard will support secondary use as well as circular economy. We are glad to be part of the Consortium as we strive towards our goals in the e-mobility sector.”
“I believe the creation of this Consortium holds great significance not just for Europe but the world as we move towards establishing standards for swappable batteries for light electric vehicles,” said Takuya Kinoshita, Executive Officer and Chief General Manager of Motorcycle Business Operations, Yamaha Motor.
“I’m confident that through work like this, the technical specs and standards that currently differ by regional characteristics or the state of the industry in different markets will be unified, and, in the future, will help lead towards maximizing the merits of electric power for customers on a global level.”