Motorcycles

KYMCO’s latest e-scooter advances new battery-charging scheme

With the 2018 Ionex, KYMCO wants to establish an open plan energy platform
With the 2018 Ionex, KYMCO wants to establish an open plan energy platform
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The removable batteries of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex can be charged at the convenience of your home of workplace with a portable charger
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The removable batteries of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex can be charged at the convenience of your home of workplace with a portable charger
The 2018 KYMCO Ionex can be charged conventionally by plugging to any wall outlet
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The 2018 KYMCO Ionex can be charged conventionally by plugging to any wall outlet
The portable batteries of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex weigh less than 5 kg (11 lb) each and are designed for easy transport by hand
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The portable batteries of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex weigh less than 5 kg (11 lb) each and are designed for easy transport by hand
With the 2018 Ionex, KYMCO wants to establish an open plan energy platform
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With the 2018 Ionex, KYMCO wants to establish an open plan energy platform
The KYMCO Ionex Energy Station looks like a vending machine for EV batteries
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The KYMCO Ionex Energy Station looks like a vending machine for EV batteries
The 2018 KYMCO Ionex is styled after the Many 110 scooter and shares most of its running gear
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The 2018 KYMCO Ionex is styled after the Many 110 scooter and shares most of its running gear
The smart battery bay of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex opens up automatically at the push of a button
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The smart battery bay of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex opens up automatically at the push of a button
The 2018 KYMCO Ionex draws inspiration from the iconic design of the Vespa
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The 2018 KYMCO Ionex draws inspiration from the iconic design of the Vespa
The removable batteries of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex are supposed to be easy to carry by hand
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The removable batteries of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex are supposed to be easy to carry by hand
Two smart buttons on each side of the floorboard of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex open up the battery bay
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Two smart buttons on each side of the floorboard of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex open up the battery bay
Transactions at the energy stations can be completed over the 2018 KYMCO Ionex smartphone app without the need for human intervention
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Transactions at the energy stations can be completed over the 2018 KYMCO Ionex smartphone app without the need for human intervention
The underseat storage bay of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex can accommodate three extra batteries, or a lot of personal stuff
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The underseat storage bay of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex can accommodate three extra batteries, or a lot of personal stuff
The removable battery of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex is designed to be pleasing to the eye
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The removable battery of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex is designed to be pleasing to the eye
The central processing unit of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex orchestrates the optimal charging of the core battery while transferring power to the rear hub-wheel motor
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The central processing unit of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex orchestrates the optimal charging of the core battery while transferring power to the rear hub-wheel motor
The KYMCO Ionex Energy Stations are designed for quick and flexible deployment just about anywhere
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The KYMCO Ionex Energy Stations are designed for quick and flexible deployment just about anywhere
KYMCO hopes that its Ionex Energy Stations will find their way to multiple locations across cities
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KYMCO hopes that its Ionex Energy Stations will find their way to multiple locations across cities
In Europe, KYMCO has already on offer two electric scooters, the Queen (left) and the Candy – although these do not rely on the Ionex power architecture yet
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In Europe, KYMCO has already on offer two electric scooters, the Queen (left) and the Candy – although these do not rely on the Ionex power architecture yet

KYMCO recently launched the Ionex electric scooter at the 2018 Tokyo Motorcycle Show as the spearhead of a new battery-charging strategy. The Taiwanese manufacturer proposes a power outlet network that combines typical charging stations with battery-swapping vending machines, all the while remaining open to other manufacturers.

Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd., or KYMCO as it is widely known, is not new to electric two-wheelers; its range includes several small commuter models for the Asian market, two of which are also marketed in Europe as well. Keeping its eyes firmly focused on future developments, KYMCO acknowledges the rising electric tide that is coming after 2020 and is designing its strategy accordingly.

"In the next three years, KYMCO plans to launch 10 electric models, establish charge networks in 20 countries, and sell over half a million electric vehicles worldwide," says Allen Ko, KYMCO Chairman. "With the Ionex, together we start an open movement that celebrates one of the most important social missions of our time."

The Ionex itself doesn't seem to offer anything radical in terms of technology, mostly based on the running gear of the popular Many 110 petrol-burning, Vespa-styled commuter. The Ionex press photos actually portray it under the name Many EV, which is probably how it will be marketed in Asian countries. KYMCO's press release makes absolutely no mention of specifications, but rather focuses on a new charging scheme.

The central processing unit of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex orchestrates the optimal charging of the core battery while transferring power to the rear hub-wheel motor
The central processing unit of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex orchestrates the optimal charging of the core battery while transferring power to the rear hub-wheel motor

The Ionex is powered by an electric motor at the rear wheel hub, fed by an array of batteries. There's a non-removable core battery housed under the saddle and over the swingarm pivot, as well as two slots for removable batteries under the central floorboard. These are responsible for powering the electric motor as well as charging the core unit while on the move, sustaining it as a last resort measure that will come into play once the other batteries have been depleted.

Charging can be achieved in several ways; the typical ones involve plugging the scooter directly to a power outlet, as well as fitting the removable batteries to a portable charger at home or the workplace. Then, there's the Ionex Energy Stations.

KYMCO will set up its Power Outlet Network of vending machine-like energy stations, where one can deposit the battery and have it fully charged in less than an hour. Reminiscent of battery-swapping schemes like the one proposed by Gogoro a few years ago, the Ionex Energy Stations are intended not only for KYMCO dealerships, but for practically any facility that is interested in placing it on its premises.

According to the press release, KYMCO plans to build a network extensive enough to eliminate the range anxiety that may put off potential customers from converting to electric commuters. The specs of these chargers will be open to all manufacturers, as KYMCO invites them to join in by designing their own compatible batteries. This can also include battery-swapping, giving it the potential to become what the company dubs as the world's first multi-function open energy platform.

The smart battery bay of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex opens up automatically at the push of a button
The smart battery bay of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex opens up automatically at the push of a button

For those that may need to cover longer distances than required by typical inner city commuting, KYMCO offers the chance to rent up to three extra batteries from any point of the outlet network and store them in the underseat compartment, extending the range of the Ionex up to 200 km (124 mi).

Unfortunately, KYMCO does not reveal any actual figures, neither for the core battery, nor for the removable ones. All we know is the aforementioned maximum range, and that each removable battery weighs less than 5 kg (11 lb). Based on this, and assuming that this maximum mileage is achieved by the combination of the core battery, another two units in the floor bay and three more under the seat, we can deduct that each battery unit is good for something in the 30-40 km (19-25 mi) range.

These numbers do not impress, especially when correlated with the current average price of an EV battery unit, which is usually anything but negligible. Still, we'll reserve judgement until KYMCO reveals the exact specs of the Ionex, as well as important information such as the battery kit that comes as standard, and related costs for charging, renting and buying batteries.

The removable batteries of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex are supposed to be easy to carry by hand
The removable batteries of the 2018 KYMCO Ionex are supposed to be easy to carry by hand

In view of the relative void in charging infrastructures in most countries, KYMCO also addresses policy makers in its press release, in an apparent effort to attract public services' scooter fleets to its network and, most importantly, set a global standard.

Although a similar charging network has already been proposed, it is KYMCO's size that could make the difference. With presence in markets all over the world, its dealership network alone makes for a valid starting point. Assisted by the open character of this platform, attracting more manufacturers to join in would fuel a more rapid expansion. The possibilities are limitless, from gas stations, shopping malls and parking lots, to office buildings and even standalone Ionex Energy Stations in public areas.

KYMCO has not disclosed when the Ionex is expected to hit showrooms, but during his speech at the launch event, Allen Ko revealed that the development of the power outlet network is scheduled to start in Taiwan sometime in the second half of 2018.

Take a closer look at the Ionex in the following official video.

Source: KYMCO

KYMCO Ionex車能網 完整介紹-KYMCO柯勝峯董事長主講

2 comments
WilliamSager
Back in the early days of rail roads they had tracks of various track width and every time trains when to different tracks small towns existed to jack up the trains and change the wheels. Eventually the government stepped in and standardized track widths. Something similar needs to be done in charger and battery tech. People are more likely to buy electric cars or battery powered equipment if they knew recharge stations will power their car and the batteries in their scooter might fit lawn mower or other similar size equipment.
Dave Weinstein
WOW! So innovative! What original ideas! Amazing insight to be the first to do this! Only one problem though, they copied every bit of their plan and strategy from Gogoro! They're not the first, they're not even the first Taiwanese company, they literally copied the whole energy network idea (down to the smallest detail) directly from fellow Taiwanese company Gogoro. Look, I've got no problem with them making electric scooters, I'm even cool with them copying Gogoro's charging network (BTW, the "network" is their WEAKEST feature), but it bothers me when a large company goes all Apple-style and starts claiming that they invented EVERYTHING. Wouldn't you get more respect acknowledging the successes of others rather than pretending to invent their stuff yourself?
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