Motorcycles

Honda, Yamaha, KTM and Piaggio team up in swappable battery consortium

Honda, Yamaha, KTM and Piaggio...
KTM's Freeride E electric motorcycle
KTM's Freeride E electric motorcycle
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KTM's Freeride E electric motorcycle
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KTM's Freeride E electric motorcycle

Four major manufacturers have committed to developing a standardized swappable battery system for electric motorcycles, opening up the possibility of quick-swap battery banks at service stations, servicing a range of brands and models.

Honda, Yamaha, KTM and Piaggio have signed on thus far, and the group has left an open invitation for other manufacturers to get on board with the initiative.

Range and charging times are still bugbears for electric motorcycles, which can't carry the huge battery packs that electric cars can. This initiative is unlikely to result in a system that's capable of taking riders out touring; batteries offering hundred-mile ranges at highway or sport riding speeds will be too heavy to lift out and swap, and running multiple modules would add packaging bulk and weight.

Instead, it'll likely prove very handy for smaller commuting bikes and scooters, giving people that don't have a dedicated charge point at home or the office a simple and quick way of powering up. And it'll be handy in the off-road segment too, where electric dirt bikes can be kept light and fun with smaller swappable batteries to keep them out on the trails or the MX park all day.

"The aim of the Consortium," reads a Honda press release, "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."

Source: Honda

10 comments
10 comments
guzmanchinky
I'm 50. Someday before I get too old I'd love a full electric dual sport like the FX, but with 500 miles of range...
paul314
Battery swap for a motorcycle or similar vehicle should take well under a minute. And charged modules could be safer than carrying a gas can.
minivini
I think having industry accept a set of standards like this would be a serious bump for any and all EVs. If car manufacturers would make modular, replaceable battery components, it would further reduce consumer anxiety towards the purchase of an EV. Even if rapidly swappable battery units never really made it to the level of service station availability, knowing one could order and replace a battery unit if needed would be a hurdle overcome and would lead to the reduction of costs both for consumers and manufacturers.
Gordien
Hopefully, if they go to the trouble of making standerdized battery packs, they might also fit larger electric tools like snow blowers, lawn mowers, etc. I'm tied of each tool (and scooters) have their own battery, battery charger, of all ages and configurations.
*Joe*
paul314, I haven't seen a gas can catch on fire just sitting by itself, but Tesla have been recorded doing just that... and also cell phones, hover boards, etc. Not sure why anyone would consider a gas can more dangerous. Well, outside of poorly protected Pinto gas tanks and idiots throwing gas on fires.

minivini, you can get replacement batteries for many electric vehicles. I don't know that availability should be the concern, rather the costs should be. For cars, monetarily they cost just as much or more than a replacement gas engine. Check out ebay for all your EV battery needs (RockAuto carry them yet?). Rather than availability of replacement batteries being the primary reason people aren't on-board, maybe it's the cost of those expensive, "environmentally friendly" mined metals they use, as well as the short life of current batteries. Considering the charge efficiency of iPhones only last a few of years, do you want the expense equivalent of a new engine looming in the near future? Oil changes and gas are currently cheap by comparison to new batteries (though gas price is going up in the US now).

There's a lot of work needed before the all electric future of 2025 or 2030, not even considering battery issues of range, charge times, and cost. How do all the rental cars recharge overnight at hotels or VRBOs? Putting in a parking lot full of charges is a huge expense, but will be required. Houses will need electrical upgrades to change multiple cars - the kid's car parked on the curb needs to charge overnight too somehow, the house's service panel might not be high enough amperage for all the cars. Instead of brown outs during the day when all the ACs units run, you have to worry about them at night too when an entire city's cars charge? If there's a wild fire and power is out, you have to stay home because the car battery is dead and you can't charge it? Can't ride a bike to a gas station fill up one of those dangerous gas cans at a near by station and then fill the EV with it. So where's the plan for how all of this works?
ljaques
That's excellent news. I hope all the others can join in the party, too.
@guz, ditto here @67. I'd be happy with half the horsepower and quintuple today's range in an FX.
ljaques
I meant to add that as energy densities increase, size can come down and make this interchangeability more common. Just 4x to 10x today's density would make the EV the only vehicle type to own.
Simon Blake
Halleluja!

This is exactly the sort of initiative that will facilitate a rapid transition to practical EVs. If the car manufacturers could do something similar the the cost of their vehicles could be substantially reduced as a smaller battery with a 150 km range would be more than adequate for most people in the knowledge that if they wished to undertake a longer trip they could replace the battery along the way.

Joe - one of the outcomes of the transition to LED lighting is that there is now surplus capacity in electrical distribution networks. There is a company in the UK converting overhead street lights to LEDs at no cost to Government in exchange for fitting an EV charging point at the base of the light pole and then being able the charge people who use it.
*Joe*
Simon Blake, a 240V 40 Amps light bulb would be blinding. One charger is equivalent to 96 100W 120V bulbs in the US. One street light change to LED doesn't make a dent in that. If I have 3 cars in the household needing charging, that equivalent to 288 bright light bulbs, all on at the same time. And that's just in *my* house, while then every other house has cars charging too. Tell me how having 40 LED bulbs in my house, and one LED in the street light out front offsets that.

And then the $200 copper charging cable that runs from the house to the kids car on the curb gets cut, stolen, and sold as scrap copper.
ReservoirPup
If something as silly as HUMMER EV can hit the market soon, why a reputable genset/motorcycle manufacturer like Honda can't make something as silly and bring a hybrid moto in front of us? Many share condolences on the ICE imminent death, but a rundown HD with a few jerrycans can take you much further than the best electric moto can and will in the foreseeable future. Honda shouldn’t think about doing a silly step though, as Furion is about to leave it behind with its upcoming hybrid bike. What can be more pathetic than a new consortium/alliance aimed at battery boxes when out-of-the-box thinking is left to underdogs? I have an EV and an electric bike and think EVs with swappable battery will be a much smaller niche than EVs with range-extenders. The bikes are a different matter (e.g. their batteries are much lighter).