Motorcycles

Yamaha's first electric bikes set for release "in the near future"

Yamaha's first electric bikes ...
Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 - swingarm
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Yamaha's PES1 - swingarm
Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
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Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PES1 - dash
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Yamaha's PES1 - dash
Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
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Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
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Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
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Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
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Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
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Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
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Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
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Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PED1 - specs
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Yamaha's PED1 - specs
Yamaha's PED1 - specs
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Yamaha's PED1 - specs
Yamaha's PES1 - specs
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Yamaha's PES1 - specs
Yamaha's PES1 - specs
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Yamaha's PES1 - specs
Yamaha's electric motorcycles - throttle
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Yamaha's electric motorcycles - throttle
Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 - bolt on headstock
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Yamaha's PED1 - bolt on headstock
Yamaha's PED1 - chain drive and swingarm
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Yamaha's PED1 - chain drive and swingarm
Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 - modular design
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Yamaha's PES1 - modular design
Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1
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Yamaha's PES1
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 - faux tank
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Yamaha's PES1 - faux tank
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 - headlight unit
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Yamaha's PES1 - headlight unit
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PED1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show
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Yamaha's PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show

When Yamaha Motor published its annual report for the year 2013 last month, motorcycle blogs the world over picked up on a single line which read: "In sports motorcycles, we are working to create new value with EV sports motorcycles, which we aim to launch in two years, with the development of the small, on-road sports PES1, as well as the PED1, which are being developed to expand the scope of electric vehicles to the off-road world." A few days later, the on-line report was changed, replacing the words "in two years" with "in the near future."

Sportingly, the company alerted shareholders to these changes with the note, "there has been a change in the time frame with regard to the launch of EV sports motorcycles" and in so doing, gave notice that electric motorcycling is about to go mainstream.

Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept

The bikes shown by Yamaha at the Tokyo Motor Show last November are very different, but they're built to a nifty modular design – the electric motor, battery and central frame segment are common to both bikes. Everything else just bolts on, from the subframe and different shock layouts, to the seat unit and rear controls, all the way up to the swingarm, the "tank" unit, the bellypan and the entire front end, which bolts on behind the headstem to give each bike different steering geometries.

Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept
Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept

The PES1 is belt driven, while the PED1 has a chain, and it's unclear from the prototypes whether they're geared. Either way, they're chalk and cheese, the PES1 being a future-funky naked roadster and the PED1 being a small motocrosser. Both are feather-light, with the sports bike clocking in at just 100 kg (220 lb) and the dirt squirter being just 85 kg (187 lb).

Neither looks like it's going to set the world on fire in their first iterations – the PES1 would only just appear to be capable of 100 km/h (62 mph), if the promo video below is anything to go by. So we're looking at electric bikes that are likely to be somewhere around the performance characteristics of what Zero was doing three or four years ago.

Still, looking at the meteoric development curve the Zero bikes have undergone in a few short years, and factoring in the gigantic resources of one of the biggest motorcycle manufacturers in the world, you'd have to assume Yamaha will be on the ball very quickly. Exciting times!

8 comments
Jeffrey A. Edwards
Still thinks they should add a can-of-change 'rattling' to emulate a Ducati Hypermotard so they don't sneak up on you!
Matt Sanders
Not sure if Jeffrey is indicating that sound being a good or bad thing. I love dry clutches though so If I ever go electric I might steal his can-of-change idea.
Michael Hissom
Is this going to be another Yamaha GL 750?
Daishi
@Jeffrey Domino's added Safe Sound to their scooters in the Netherlands to help with that: www.youtube.com/watch?v=n17B_uFF4cA The result was great :)
Ozuzi
Riding a silent dirt bike in the bush would be awesome, plus you could hear any 4x4s coming the other way
Anthony Parkerwood
If the motor was in the wheel they could ditch the belt, less maintenance.
Anthony Parkerwood
I notice my Makita 1/2" impact wrench never seems to overheat. The battery also seems to last longer than it does on a cordless drill. Maybe a heavy duty hammer and anvil system in the hub would improve performance.
gizmowiz
NOne of the bike manufacturers are coming out with an eCruiser because they are worried a good EV eCruiser would destroy all of their gasoline cruisers!!