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Yamaha, Honda, KTM and Piaggio Form Consortium for Standarized, Swappable Batteries

The big manufacturers will be diving head-first into electric motorcycle production. If you have any doubts about this, yesterday’s announcement regarding the formation of a consortium to create a standardized, swappable battery system among Yamaha, Honda, KTM and Piaggio should convince you.

With the relatively short travel range of most electric motorcycles (at least, at this point) and the relatively long re-charge times required, electric motorcycles’ practical use can be severely limited. With longer ranges, and very little wait to re-charge (pull out your battery and swap in a fully charged one at the station) these limitations could be resolved.

The following press release is from Yamaha, one member of the new consortium (although, it is at the “letter of intent” stage currently). It brings to mind the question of whether other electric motorcycle manufacturers will try to join this consortium, such as Zero and Harley-Davidson, or whether they will try to go it on their own or with another group.

Here is the press release from Yamaha:

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announces today that the company has signed a Letter of Intent with Honda Motor Co., Ltd. , KTM AG and Piaggio & C SpA to set up a Swappable Batteries Consortium for Motorcycles and light Electric Vehicles.

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 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.

Executive Officer Takuya Kinoshita, Chief General Manager of Motorcycle Business Operations, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.:

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.

98 Comments

  1. RobShuttle says:

    If anyone can get the specs/drawings for these new batteries, I can make some 3D printed boxes or mounts for custom vehicles.

  2. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    I would not subscribe to the idea of swapping batteries anywhere, let alone on a long ride. The unknown condition or history of a recharged battery squirting juice into my nifty e-bike does not warm the cockles of my heart. Standardization would be great at the parts counter, when needed, if price competition was a reality.
    Limited range and comparative purchase cost remain an issue for normal functional use, however if one just wanted a local day ride to satisfy the biking need, without big performance numbers, all is well. Think of a small ICE thumper poking around playing trials or just exploring. One could also load the e-bike in the truck to get where the terrain is. The low end ZEROs could work for me as an occasional rider, especially with a Battery Tender maintainer for long periods of inactivity without the normal deterioration of an ICE. Yes cost is still an issue, but how badly you feel the need to still ride balances out the 10 grand starting cost.
    Sound and sensory input could be swapped for fast jet smooth in a Walter Mitty way, minus the thrust of reheat.

  3. mickey says:

    For me the issue for one is price. A zero SF for example costs $21,000. A Honda NC 750X which gets 70 mpg costs $8000. A $13,000 diff. That $ 13,000 diff will buy 4,333 gallons of gas. At current price of approx $3.00 gallon multiplied by 70 miles per gallon, the NC 750X could go over 300,000 miles before the price difference between the bikes would break even.

    Like I said I have no problem riding an electric bike on my daily weekday rides,(not weekends or tours) but for me the initial buy in price would have to be comparable from 1 unit to the other. One can’t cost more than double the other. I’ll never see the value otherwise, no matter if one has switchable batteries or not

    • Jeremy says:

      For me, the issue is still range. It doesn’t really make much difference to me if there is a price gap – even a big one per your example. The things just don’t go far enough on a charge. I don’t know about the newest Zeros, but prior models can’t be charged very quickly either. So even if there were charging infrastructure available, you’d spend as much or more of your day charging as you would riding.

      Even if I could stand stopping every 60 miles to swap batteries, I don’t foresee particularly large batteries being swappable. Something like the battery in the zero SR/F weighs around 160 lbs if I had to guess. It would be a challenge to break that pack up into something more manageable like four 40-lb modules that could be easily accessed, at least with the bike’s current frame design.

      I think the battery swap thing will remain in the realm of urban mobility and motocross. Something like a Zero FX with the modular battery or an electric mega-scooter isn’t so far off the price of the Honda NC750X. And an electric MX bike would probably hit break-even fairly quickly compared against the maintenance-intensive four stroke bikes.

      • mickey says:

        Easy to see that priorities are different for different riders. Trying to overcome both price and range must certainly be on the minds of designers and engineers. Until both of those problems are overcome, it’s going to be a tough sell. Add in the problem of some people want to shift and some people want motor and exhaust noises, makes me glad I’m not the one trying to solve these issues.

  4. joe b says:

    I’m not sure if the article made its point. The main reason for consistantcy in battery size/fitment, seems obvious, but was missed it seems by the comments in many of the replies. If there was indeed a common size battery, it seems the most obvious asset to that would be, that you could come to any battery service center, and swap out your empty battery, with one thats fully charged. Possibly instead of owning your battery, it might be that you would pay for Battery rental, and as new battery technology would come of age, be able to update to the newest generation of power supply. This makes sense, and negates those arguments against batteries, that cant be charged in 5 min, what if you could just slip in a fully charged unit, in 5 min? and be on your way. With a phone app, showing how much charge is left on yours, and range to the available stations along your route. It makes sense. Upgrade your contract, as you go. Why cars dont do this is a mystery. (does everyone get the “your comment is awaiting moderation”) ?

  5. JanJ says:

    I think this is a good start…

    Uniformity in batteries provides a good design starting point….
    Maybe as time and Technology develops Extended range is accomplished for Touring bikes using multiple batteries… Time will tell..

    Presently, I’m ‘Retired’ from motorcycles…. But still enjoy them via others! Ride Safe!

    • Mick says:

      Good point. One battery urban grocery getters up to four or six battery Uber super road barge delux leviatans that need a couple of two battery tugs to push them around parking lots.

  6. Mick says:

    I have a thirsty supermoto with a small aluminum gas tank.Give me a similarly powerful bike with sub 300# weight and a fresh battery at every gas station and I’m in.

    But alas, look at this market. Constantly bloating with insane power, nanny boxes to ensure that the power is strictly spec sheet only. Only to be replaced with more bloat and more inaccessible power.

    600 pound bikes with battleship batteries and 200+ horsepower, 100 accessable?

    Sorry, I spent a lifetime learning to ride motorcycles. I don’t need a cow in superhero drag to stand next to in an effort to make people think I know how to properly handle a motorcycle.

    I can only hope they make excellent electric street bikes. And not just electric versions of the portable leaning posts that flood the market today.

  7. Tom R says:

    Until the arrival of five-minute charging from low to full capacity, with an infrastructure equivalent to today’s fuel station network, electric motorcycles for use beyond urban commuting is an unfeasable dream.

    • Dave says:

      Electric motorcycle use for urban commuting is the dream. Swappable batteries and locations to facilitate it erase concerns for range anxiety, charge time and battery degradation.

      See Jason’s post below.

      • Tom R says:

        Allow me to elaborate.

        Yes, the electro-moto commute is within reality. I don’t want to do that. I want to ride far from urban centers, for 300-500 miles during a day, a few of those days strung together.

        • Dave says:

          Understood. I am pointing out that your proposed use case isn’t any of these company’s dream right now. Honda is #1 worldwide for all the scooters and 150cc bikes they sell in SE Asia, not the Africa Twin.

    • Marcus says:

      Guys. Seriously. Do dome research on small modular reactors.
      They are nukes built in a factory then trucked to your location. They really are the wave of the future.

  8. My weekend rides of 250-500 would be out of the question at this time. I’m sure I will be too old to be riding when that comes to fruition.

  9. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    So , , , when most vehicles are electric in a few years, per VW, Toyota, Chevy, and Ford where is all the charging electricity going to come from ?

    • Tom R says:

      It will be generated by….burning fossil fuels.

      This electric vehicle thing is pretty much slight of hand, and smoke and mirrors. The Chinese have done a great job in convincing much of the world that we all need to be beholden to their battery industry.

      • Marcus says:

        Electric vehicles may be charged from power plants using fossil fuels but it is easier to clean up emissions from one large smoke stack than it is from one million tail pipes. True story.

        Then there are nuclear power plants, which are the best and cleanest form of power generation… until they aren’t. When they break down it is beyond man’s ability to deal with the aftermath. I don’t need to mention any names.
        But then again, there are the small modular reactors (SMR), they are quite promising.

      • Jeremy says:

        Like Marcus said, emissions from power plants are more economical. There is also a benefit from not having those emissions produced at ground level all over a city.

        I also think it is a bit short-sighted to make such an argument as if powerplants will always and forever use fossil fuels to generate power. They won’t. The energy industry is already moving in the right direction. The transportation industry is starting to move now as well. They need to move forward together to make the most impact.

        • Dave says:

          Another aspect that gets overlooked in he power source argument is the vehicle’s inherent efficiency. A Chevy Bolt’s batter holds the same amount of energy as 1.8gal. of gasoline. That’s a whole lot less fuel being burned in electricity production to fill the EV’s “tank”.

          We’re always going to need to burn some fuel for power production. Reduction is valuable even if elimination isn’t possible. Petroleum can be saved for the production of durable goods instead of being burned.

          • Jeremy says:

            Indeed great point, and truth be known, the burning of fossil fuels will be with us for a long time. And there will probably always be a niche of the market for vehicles that run on those fuels. I couldn’t replace any of my ICE machines – bike or auto – with electric right now just because of how I use them. Though I’d love a hybrid electric power-train in my truck that gets maybe 50 miles from the battery before using the engine. That would cut down on my fuel burn substantially.

            Like you said, we don’t have to go to zero to reap benefits. Full electric vehicles work for many people. Plug-in hybrids would work for just about everyone. Just imagine how much fuel consumption could drop if your typical vehicle could run for 40 – 50 miles without having to engage the ICE.

      • Gary says:

        Care to guess what percentage of Germany’s electric grid is fueled by hydrocarbon?

      • tim Rowledge says:

        “It will be generated by….burning fossil fuels.”
        Only in technologically backward places where the political scene is something that Neanderthals would happily remember throwing away.

      • Mick says:

        When was the last time you saw a new coal plant being built outside of Texas or West Virginia?

        I’m a retired coal plant operator. Only two of the many coal plants that I visited during my training still stand. Those of course are the largest and newest ones. They will eventually be replaced with natural gas plants as well.

        The plant I ran? Yup! Gone. Replaced by a couple of natural gas units on the same site. So if you think that your gas exhaust on your ICE bike is being replaced with coal exhaust. You are swilling Kool-aid unless you live in West Virginia.

    • JoeG says:

      Apparently, world wide, they’re not planning to build enough power plants to handle the new demand electric vehicles will need. Ten or fifteen years is not really that long of a time to accomplish the Green,

      Texas was hours away from being out of power for weeks. ERCOT the people who couldn’t be better planners say there will be shortages in ten years. I’m assuming that’s without electric cars.

      It seems the world is more likely to end not by climate change but by the people trying to remedy it.

  10. Mick says:

    These will be like Mash motorcycles.

    All over the place…except the US.

    You get extra credit if you knew about them at all.

    I lived in Europe for five years. So I’m cheating.

  11. Grover says:

    I went on a 300 mile ride today in the middle of S. Oregon. It’ll be a long time before you convince me that electric bikes are the answer. Perhaps they’re good for short trips in the city and that’s where they should stay!

    • bmbktmracer says:

      Well, that’d be most excellent! Imagine a city bustling with the whirring sounds of electric motorcycles, scooters, and cars. I’d happily give them that so long as they leave me and my ’66 Ford truck alone. 🙂

  12. bmbktmracer says:

    For those pining over the demise of the internal combustion engine, has anyone ever read a bad review about an electric motorcycle (other than range). Be it cars or motorbikes, all I’ve ever read are rave reviews. As for the “sound,” once I get over about 30 MPH the only sound I hear is wind noise. Imagine life without unmuffled Harleys!

    • Magnus says:

      I have one issue with my Zero FX, there is no clutch or kill lever. After 40+years of riding I am brought full circle back to my first mini bike ride. You all know it, the bike lurches forward and you twist the throttle while desperately trying to hold on and can’t untwist your right wrist so go careening into the bushes (I was lucky) or fence, or worse.
      I have thrice got caught in the situation with my FX where I couldn’t undo the throttle. Once because I was moving it from the front and didn’t press the kill switch first (totally my bad), once showing off it’s amazing acceleration (my bad), and once going up a steep rocky trail and was flipping over (Zero’s bad). I did flip over and the bike landed on the throttle side pinning the throttle wide open.
      I will be mounting a ‘clutch’ lever kill switch. All three times my immediate reaction was to grab with my left hand.

      • bmbktmracer says:

        Well, darn it! Just when I thought it was all sunshine and applesauce, now we’re back to Taco minibikes.

        • Holygeezer says:

          Ah yes, Taco minibikes. My brother and I started out on a Taco minibike in the 1960’s. And then I graduated to my first real motorcycle on a Honda Trail 90. I can still remember my first ride on the Trail 90 in a friends large backyard full of nice soft grass. Many bikes followed with my Honda SL100 being one of my favorites. I rode the hell out of that one, even trying to keep up with my brother and friends on their dedicated motocross bikes on a local unofficial track. I can still recall the rear fender bottoming out on the jumps Those were the days.

    • Marcus says:

      When you say “(other than range)” in parentheses no less, you make it seem like it’s just a minor annoyance. LOL. It’s EVERYTHING!
      “Besides the assassination Mrs Lincoln, what did you think of the play?”
      My 300-400 mile Sunday rides would go from pure bliss to, well… nothing. They couldn’t happen.

      That and the weight. Electric bikes are generally heavy.

      • Dave says:

        The 300-400mi./day sport customer is nearly unicorn-rare in the grand scheme of things. If we want to see motorcycles return as practical transportation then the industry needs to attract the urban commuter, which is what drives this business in the biggest unit markets.

        They’re going to continue to make ice bikes for sport & leisure but the 08’ crash showed us just how fragile that segment can be in the us.

        • fred says:

          “Thanks for your concern.” I sure hope you aren’t in manufacturing, sales, or customer service. Ignoring the riders who actually use their motorcycles is hardly a plan for success. Unlike Marcus, I don’t ride 300+ plus miles every weekend, but I do have a couple of 400+ mile days coming up in a few weeks, and hopefully will do a 3k trip over a week or so this summer with 4-6 days over 500 miles each day).

          You may not care about range, but range represents both utility and freedom, without which motorcycles lose much of their meaning and appeal.

          Scooter riders may not care about, or need, range, but this is supposedly a motorcycle website, not a scooter website.

          • Marcus says:

            I have three bikes, with a fourth coming on line as soon as the weather warms enough to let me finish the restoration. (It is my winter project).

            Anyways, one of those four is a Honda Helix 250cc scooter, which I love. I have as much fun on it as I do my other bikes (a ZRX1200 and a new z900 and soon to be zr7s).
            Don’t knock the big scoots til you try them. It dominates in city traffic.

          • fred says:

            Fair enough, Marcus. I have a chinese 125cc scooter in the garage that I bought for my daughter years ago. It’s not worth selling, and it’s not worth fixing, but it was fun to ride. Over 30 years ago, I test rode a Helix 250 in the Ruidoso mountains and had a great time. I wave at scooter riders. My long-winded point is that I’m fine with scooters on a one-to-one basis, but I’m still very blase’ about them as a class of machinery. Not that it’s particularly relevant, but I have the same attitude towards cruisers.

          • Dave says:

            They’re not ignoring their customers, they are innovating for them and if they get this across the finish line, it will be a revolution for them. These are the customers who buy small motorcycles in many times the numbers that American recreational riders buy big ones in. Example – 2020’s US motorcycle sales were roughly 780k units (including 4 wheelers). In India and SE Asia, makes like Honda, Bajaj, and Hero all produce around 2-300k units/month. Big bikes = small potatoes.

            I don’t think you are recognizing that these customers are much more important to these companies than we are.

            This site covers all types of motorcycles, big and small.

    • Litho says:

      Teslas have plenty of complaints. Interior is put together with the integrity of a dilapidated garden shed, for one. My grandfather creaked less.

      Doors refusing to close properly, windows failing to wind down/up… all these kind of small “niggles”.

      Their drivetrain and battery tech seem reliable though. Range is class-leading too, but alas, whatever you gain in range you end up losing by having to make trips to the service centers to sort out said niggles.

  13. Gary says:

    It’s not a question of IF there will be battery powered bikes. It’s only a question of WHEN. Solid state battery technology will deliver bikes with ranges of more than 400 miles, probably within four years. Like or not, here it comes. The bigger question is, what will become of bikes once most cars are autonomous. My guess is that bikes will become illegal over time.

    • ScotocS says:

      There will be a grace period before illegality during which driving a car or piloting a motorcycle will merely be considered unethical and immoral.

    • Jeremy says:

      400 mile range battery on a motorcycle in 4 years? Unless you can charge that battery with hopes and dreams, I think not.

      • Gary says:

        I’m pretty sure the whole idea behind “swappable” batteries is that they can be swapped, via a cassette, at various “filling stations.”

        • Jeremy says:

          I agree. I just don’t agree that we will be swapping out 400-mile range batteries anytime soon. That is how I understood your post anyway. Perhaps I read it wrong and your meaning was that we could enjoy 400 mile days by swapping batteries.

          • Gary says:

            You may be right, Jeremy. But I stand by four years … five max. There is too much momentum now, not to mention profit potential, and we’re at a tipping point.

  14. mickey says:

    This will be interesting to see if I live long enough. My kids will probably see it.

    I could no doubt use an electric bike on my daily week day rides of 40-100 miles as long as it’s warm enough not to sap the energy out of the battery.

    My weekend rides of 250-500 would be out of the question at this time. I’m sure I will be too old to be riding when that comes to fruition.

    and of course my trips of up to 6000 miles over a 2 week period would be a pipe dream years down the road on an electric bike, long after I am gone. There is an awful lot of empty space between the coasts that would require charging stations, and given the density of traffic on the road, a LOT of charging stations.

    Could conceivably like the oil embargos of the 70’s, only instead of being lined up for gas, we would be lined up for our turn at the charging stations.

    I do think electric scooters for urban travel are the best use of elect vehicles.

  15. Jason says:

    This is for Asia – where more than 90% of all motorcycles are sold. Those motorcycles are overwhelmingly 50cc – 150cc singles used for basic transportation. The riders are mostly in huge cities where speeds are low and trips are short.

    The Taiwanese company Gogoro has been selling scooters with swappable batteries since 2015 and is up to 14% market share. They have 1600 battery swap stations around the Taiwan and do 200,000 battery swaps a day. The battery is sold as a subscription with varying rates based on how many swaps per month. The most expensive 2 battery at a time unlimited plan is $32 USD a month.

    It is far simpler to install 1600 battery swap stations than to put in chargers on the street for 300,000 customers plug in their scooters.

  16. dp says:

    Swappable batteries? With what objective other than corporate profit (and reducing supplier base)? They should be standardised already, are they not? I do not see what it will do for a rider with one motorcycle in ownership at given time.

    Btw. they are as expensive as the car ones. When I was last time buying spare battery for my Hornet I was stunned with the price. And, it was made in Vietnam and did not look even half as good as original Yuasa!

    • Don says:

      I’m not exactly gung-ho for electric bikes but if a manufacturer could sell you a bike for a very low price with no battery and you did a lease deal for a continuous supply of charged batteries that you would just slide in and go…might that be interesting? Of course it would take a large investment on the part of the manufacturers (or a third party)but the fact that the batteries were standardized over many makes of bikes would help. I might pull into a QuickMart and swap batteries faster than I could get my propane tank filled.

  17. Harry says:

    Many individuals do not want to accept the future. These companies see the “handwriting on the wall”. The future is electric and they are planning for it. Battery technology is in it’s infancy. Solid state batteries, in one example, may be around 5 years away and promise to double charge density. I own two cars a 2016 Miata – 6 speed stick shift, new Tesla model S and two motorcycles. Which car do I prefer driving? The Miata! Love shifting, exhaust rumble and pure joy of a convertible. But, the Tesla is effortlessly faster and will out corner the Miata. It’s problem is the need of any driver input or vehicle feedback. Self driving feature works fairly well (recognizing traffic lights and stop signs). It’s so quiet you can hear a whisper inside. It’s like being in a cocoon in your living room couch. Change is hard to accept.

    • todd says:

      But this is the sort of change that I am not looking forward to. It’s like saying we’re changing to a more environmentally friendly, but tasteless, food that will be phasing out steaks and ribs or eliminating physical sex for virtual…

      • Harry says:

        Todd, I agree totally with your comment. I will in my remaining time scratch and drag with reluctance toward this new future. But, you see, I have kids and grandkids and believe all these environmental scientists that state with one voice that we must change and rely less on non-renewable energy sources. Do we have a choice?

        • dp says:

          Electricity is renewable, right? Charge-discharge-charge, no problem there. So are materials used in batteries – they get recycled.

          On the other hand, wind and solar energy exploitation creates another set of problems. Did you ever drive by line of windmills? The hum coming out of them is awful.

          • Jeremy says:

            “Did you ever drive by line of windmills? The hum coming out of them is awful.”

            What? I drive by them all the time. The car makes way more noise than the turbines. I don’t see how you could possibly here them over tire and wind noise unless you were idling by right underneath one.

          • Magnus says:

            Hey dp, have you ever had a line of Harleys ride past you? The noise coming off them is awful LOL!

          • JoeG says:

            They can’t recycle lithium-ion batteries yet. Maybe never.

          • Jeremy says:

            Where did you read that? Yes, lithium ion batteries can be recycled.

          • motorhead says:

            True. Much more pleasurable to drive by a coal plant spewing out toxic fumes. Or a hydroelectric plant destroying migrating fish habitat and ecosystem.

      • cw says:

        All of the environmentally friendly food I’ve been around tasted fresher, and the growers and sellers seemed to be more amorous.

        You hang out with the wrong hippies.

    • TimC says:

      FIFY: Unnecessary, non-market-driven change that claims to solve a problem but in reality just moves it around, is hard to accept.

      • Dave says:

        Not US market driven today but everywhere else, where gasoline is much more expensive and cities are filthy with pollution it is a problem and the market is looking for these solutions.

        • fred says:

          EVERYWHERE it is government driven, not market driven. Even where is gasoline is expensive and there is pollution, the government is the one putting huge taxes on gasoline and subsidizing ev’s. The market may be “looking” for solutions, but more realistically manufacturers are trying to survive a legislative onslaught.

          • Harry says:

            Fred, I believe you are correct, the change to electric vehicles is driven by government regulation. Look at the UK, all new cars sold will be electric by 2030 as a prime example. The manufacturers are trying to comply. But, the ultimate mover or source of this change is our climate with the climate scientists and all their warnings. Our climate is changing, warming and with more violent or extreme weather situations (100 year floods occurring more often). For young people this may not be evident. For old farts like me, 70s, the change is dramatic.

      • Jeremy says:

        I think it is fallacy to assume that the best solutions are always “market-driven.” Markets provide the most economical solutions to immediate needs. But those solutions can have very negative effects for the future. Most consumers choose to ignore future costs, particularly if they don’t ever expect to have to bear those costs personally.

        • fred says:

          That is why families are the key to societal survival. Parents care far more about the world that their children will be living in than the supposed environmentalists.

          • Dave says:

            If that were true, the world would look a lot different than it does now. Many parents I see drive around in 8,000lb SUV’s with one or two kids, live in homes much larger than they need and vote for representatives that will go to war to keep the costs of sustaining their energy needs (oil) as low as possible. Not exactly a picture of environmental concern.

    • Jeremy says:

      Cars are big, heavy objects anyway, so the battery you can fit in them works in those applications for a material slice of the populace with respect to how they use automobiles. This is also true for scooters in much if the urban world.

      A motorcycle is a different animal, I suspect. I lived in Europe for a bit, and the people there I knew that commuted on motorcycles (not scooters) also spent a lot of time riding them outside the cities for hours on end. That’s how most people in North America use them as well. A very large battery on our beloved rolling bricks gets you about an hour of riding once beyond the city cycle. Swap ’em out every hour? Sure, that could work so long as the infrastructure is there. But where I like to ride, there isn’t much in the way of infrastructure other than the road I’m on. I’m doing it wrong otherwise. Plus, it would irritate me to no end to stop that often.

      Now I would love an electric dirt bike (preferably with a clutch.) If I can ever get 50 solid miles of range in a package that weighs around 275 lbs with swappable batteries, I’m all in.

    • fred says:

      It’s not so much that change is hard to accept as it is that change for the worse is hard to accept.

  18. garjo says:

    Zero interest in “zero emission” motorcycles.

  19. Fred N says:

    Back, way back in time, the first horseless carriages bought their very expensive fuel at Chemist Shops in 4 Litre tins. History of Mankind show’s it will resolve the electric vehicle question, don’t worry about it. It always does.

  20. todd says:

    I guess we’re talking about something smaller than regular motorcycles – whatever “L-category” is; mopeds and small scooters, I imagine. Maybe in those vehicles you can accept less range for a swappable battery over longer range in an integrated one.

    • Jeremy says:

      I believe I read somewhere that the “L” is short for “light electric vehicles.” Which makes everything perfectly clear.

  21. todd says:

    Good luck with that! A large enough battery for a hundred miles is half the size of the bike itself. A battery the size of a gas tank will get you a half hour, maybe a full hour, if you’re lucky. How many times are you willing to ride back into town to find a swap station while out on your ride? Most places I like to ride don’t have much in the way of retail establishments.

  22. yfzse says:

    i understand the perception on why this is being done, but to me the engine is the heart AND soul of a bike. the sound, the feel… hell the smell! that’s all going to be gone when these things are mainstream. oh well

  23. Grover says:

    As long as you don’t swap for an old batt. that leaves you stranded. If it’s done properly it could be a good thing.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      I was thinking about this. It makes sense that the swap station would perform a quick diagnostic on the health of the battery offered in each swap. Some batteries would have to be rejected.

      • XR650L says:

        Charge a bit more for swapping out bad batteries and you serve the customer and bring the bad battery into an appropriate disposal chain.

      • Neal says:

        What happens if you have an old battery to trade in? For a swap station to be willing to accept a bad battery there would have to be robust OEM support, the OEM would have to make it relatively painless to the swap station to receive and dispose of bad batteries or at least it would have to be part of any business plan.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        Racers, then others, will very quick figure a way to trash the batteries to just above “acceptable” range, while trading for one which still has some trashing left……

        Considering the difference in value between a fresh battery and a trashed one, there’s tons of money just laying there for those sufficiency unscrupulous, or perhaps just poor, to work at it a bit.

        It’s really not much different than swappable cars. Pulling up in a beaten to death Benz, while expecting to pull away in an average one. Noone offers such a service. For good reason.

      • viktor92 says:

        I think the key of this matter is an accurate procedure to check the battery health level, so the “charge station” could change your battery with one with similar charge cycles, that means with similar remaining useful life.
        This could accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, but should be a joint effort of many manofacturers.

        • fred says:

          Far more likely this would require a lease or rental arrangement. As an accountant, it would be possible to come up with a financially viable arrangement, with a charge calculated on battery usage and degradation from each swap. Arrangements would have to be made to account for people who charge at home, or just have the battery sitting around, as well.
          Then you would have to have a great deal of infrastructure: locations, charging, inventory, service, maintenance, etc.
          While all this is theoretically possible, it would be a massive undertaking. An individual signing up for this would want to have a commitment of availability of batteries at convenient times and locations.
          With most eBikers being used to short trips and home charging, this would not be an easy sell.
          What seems like a simple idea turns into a tremendously complex reality.

          • Dave says:

            You’d be swapping gas stations and tanker trucks full of gasoline for battery stations that charged battery inventory on site with fewer trucks transporting inventory. This is also the solution for everyone who wants electric but lives in an apartment and can’t easily charge.

            As another poster has pointed out, this is already in place in Taiwan, without he horsepower of the companies mentioned in this article. It’s not tremendously complex, it’s really pretty simple.

  24. Jeremy says:

    This could be a catalyst to ushering in electric MX/Supercross racing in the very near future. A swappable standard would effectively let race organizations use a single spec homologation battery, too, as a substitute for cc classes. And I think that particular format of racing would actually suit electric drive trains pretty well. Hmmm. This might get interesting. I wonder if it is any coincidence that Honda has been showing off its electric MX bike recently.

    • RobShuttle says:

      I would like to get some spec. drawings for these new batteries and see where else it could be used. Maybe they will work for power tools.

  25. Cash says:

    If the plan is stocking these exclusively at dealerships then they’ve lost me already. There are only a few dealerships still open in Massachusetts. Most of those that are still open are not open on Sunday. Those that do open Sunday,take a different day off.

    Stock them at conventional gas stations, big box stores and convenience stores like they do with propane gas tanks for your grill (Rhino Tank). Make it so simple to swap that the attendant doesn’t need to get involved. Same as gasoline. If dealerships want to get involved fine, add them to the list of places that actually are open for my business.

  26. Michael says:

    This is very good news! I sold my electric Alta super moto, it was the neatest bike I’ve had but the range was horrible, Zero is nowhere close to me (and not reliable), this opens up the door to many possibilities, not for everyone but I highly recommend a demo ride, you might be surprised.

  27. Gary in NJ says:

    It’s a great way to generate traffic at the dealership. Say for example that for a small fee ($5-$10) you can swap your battery at any Yamaha/Honda/KTM/Piaggio dealer. You’re out on the Sunday ride and rather everyone on the ride going to the gas station with the good cafe next door, they stop at the dealer (who has an espresso counter) for battery swaps. While there sipping coffee the riders are shopping for gear, bench racing while looking at the newest bikes, shooting shit with anyone who will listen…it’s building a community of people with shared interests. I think it’s a brilliant move – and one that will move hardware.

  28. Josh B. says:

    Something like with what QuantumScape (QS) has been coming up with might be good for motorcycles. They are basically piloting solid-state ceramic separator batteries with an anode of pure metallic lithium. We won’t see scale production until 2025-ish (they have working prototypes I believe), but it could be a big leap for bikes I think.

  29. Sam Toothaker says:

    Like it or not, e-vehicles, motorcycles, minicars and delivery vans, are the future. This agreement cements that future especially with the new concepts that are now in prototype stage. I prefer the hydrogen fuel cell method, but this is a solid step forward for these bikes. patdep is correct in places where year round riding is possible. This is a great business decision. Anxious to see what they come up with.

  30. Tom R says:

    I can’t even say “consorshium”, let alone spell it.

  31. Tank says:

    Can’t wait for an electric Yamaha scooter (the E-Max).

  32. patdep says:

    this will be viable in places where you can ride year round