All four of the big Japanese motorcycle firms; Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, have signed an agreement to work together on interchangeable electric battery technology and at reducing costs of future battery powered two wheelers.
The official announcement is massive news for the future development of electric motorcycles and scooters in the future, as shared technology and standardised batteries mean development and purchase costs will be reduced.
By sharing both development of the technology and the way that technology will be used will allow for all of the companies to share costs and thereby reduce costs to the consumers. In the past few years electric motorcycle and scooter development has been increasing but the purchase price of this new technology is still a barrier to buying for many owners.
With batteries that can be interchangeable between models it could lead to the development of charging stations where depleted batteries are simply swapped for new ones that carry a full charge.
Patents for this kind of removable battery design have been lodged by firms like Kawasaki as far back as 2016 and while patents don’t actually mean the technology will be appearing anytime soon, it does at least mean it’s being seriously looked at.
Honda has been working with closely-linked firm Mugen to develop electric bike technology and has been dominating the Isle of Man TT Zero for the past few years with Shinden bike (pictured). This kind of cutting-edge technology is expensive to carry out but the rate of development and improvement has been fast.
Two new versions of the Mugen Shinden electric bike will be racing at the 2019 Isle of Man TT this year.
Honda’s General Manager of the motorcycle division Noriake Abe said: “The increase in the availability of electric motorcycles requires solutions to problems such as riding range and charging time and replaceable batteries are an effective solution to this.
“In terms of customer convenience the standardisation of replaceable batteries and electrical systems across this consortium of manufacturers will help.
“First of all we will proceed with investigations for domestic motorcycles to help increase the use of electric motorcycles and the convenience to customers will also improve at the same time.”
This year has seen the release of electric motorcycle manufacturer Zero’s much vaunted SR/F, while Harley-Davidson’s equally hyped Livewire is promised to be in showrooms by the end of the year.