Battery technology is changing at a rapid pace. Newer, higher capacity batteries are always being developed. Almost every major company has its own battery. On electric bicycles, this is not that big a concern, as riders can usually carry an extra battery to their ride and swap it out if needed. On motorcycles, however, this is much more difficult, as the batteries are massive.
To deal with this, Yamaha, KTM, Piaggio and Honda have formed The Swappable Batteries Consortium for Motorcycles and Light Electric Vehicles. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? They will be working with various standardization bodies in Europe and in other countries to create standards for the batteries.
The aim is to standardize batteries to allow an easy swap, while also lowering emissions and increasing sustainability. Electric vehicles need far less maintenance than their gas-powered counterparts, so will likely be used for years longer due to reliability.
“The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe,” Noriaki Abe, Managing Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Co., stated. “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.”
KTM AG CEO Stefan Pierer had this to say: “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. Considering the entire lifecycle, a widespread application of batteries compliant with a common standard will support secondary use as well as the circular economy. We are glad to be part of the Consortium as we strive towards our goals in the e-mobility sector.”
None of the aforementioned companies currently offer electric vehicles in the U.S., but this is likely to change following this announcement. The Consortium will begin working together in May, and hopefully this will accelerate the development of their own electric vehicles.
Stay tuned, we’ve reached out to them for comment and more information.