Swappable electric batteries consortium formed by Honda, Yamaha, KTM and Piaggio

Honda, Yamaha, KTM and Piaggio sign a letter of intent to set up a swappable electric batteries consortium for motorcycles and light electric vehicles. 

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ANNOUNCED today, the four manufacturers (Honda, Yamaha, KTM & Piaggio) have signed a letter of intent to set up a swappable electric batteries consortium for motorcycles and light electric vehicles. 

They will all collaborate on batteries that can be switched amongst their future electric model lineup, meaning a universal battery cell that can be used across all models. It may not be something that we see on the roads and in use any time soon, but it’s a clear sign of intent that they are all planning for the longevity of use for their electric vehicles, as well as promoting the use of electric power with increased availability.

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From the release: ‘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.’

We reported on a similar scheme being started back in September of 2020, with the ‘Japanese Big Four’ (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki) planning on collaborating with a trial run in Osaka. Whilst they are not all listed on this new consortium, they could still be on the way in the future - they’re just not part of the new consortium ‘4 founding members’, with KTM and Piaggio. 

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This new consortium, however, will begin its activities in May 2021, and it seems invitations have been sent to other manufacturers to join their initiative. At the end of all this, we (the consumers) will likely win out, just as much as they do. A swappable battery across makes and models would mean ease of use and much quicker recharging times by physically swapping an empty battery for a full one - it's not a new concept by any means, but the big manufacturers jumping on board certainly signals their intent going forward.

Noriake Abe, Managing Officer of Motorcycle Operations for Honda, said: 

 “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.
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.”

Takuya Kinoshita, Executive Officer and Chief General Manager of Motorcycle Business Operations for Yamaha, said:

“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. 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.”

Electric motorcycles and scooters will be on the way whether you are all about it or not, and there's plenty of development being put in for almost every manufacturer - some of our favourites are the Italian Volt modular motorcycle, the Volcon Grunt, and the Sondors Metacycle.