The Big Four of Japan have joined forces to get a little closer … to the client and to each other. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki have joined forces and agreed to standardize the format of quick-change batteries, which will therefore be compatible with all four brands.
Battery format standardization
This is a big step forward for the entire world of e-bikes, as it is no secret that the Big Four, dominant in the motorcycle industry, will certainly set the general trend in the field of e-bikes. Battery format standardization will allow charging and exchange stations to have a large supply of fully charged batteries so that riders can drive up and replace dead batteries with full ones in seconds. And this, in turn, means that electric bikes, the main limitation of which was the battery capacity (and therefore, the power reserve and recharge time), with a developed infrastructure, will be even more practical, since they “refilling” will happen corny faster than gasoline.
The idea of quick-change batteries is not new, large China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) is already building a network of exchange stations for several formats with might and main (Gogoro announced a partnership with two electric scooter manufacturers – Aeon and PGO). But a huge plus of the current news is that the four largest manufacturers will have a common standard that allows the owner of a Suzuki motorcycle, for example, to use Honda batteries.
The deal between Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki is concluded two years after the founding of the Replaceable Battery Consortium for Electric Motorcycles. Curiously, the previously concluded agreement between Honda, Yamaha, Piaggio and KTM is a separate deal for the same purpose.
However, the standard agreed upon by the Big Four is likely to be inherited by the second group, since the creation of a separate second standard will simply not be in the interests of the first group.
Importantly, the convenience of quick battery replacement will eliminate the need to equip e-bikes with a long range. When replacing batteries takes just a couple of seconds, the need for 300 kilometers of travel with one “refueling” disappears, and with it the need to carry large and heavy batteries on board. This in turn means that electric motorcycles will become lightweight, efficient and well-controlled. Not to mention the fact that the absence of a built-in battery will have a positive effect on the price of a motorcycle, since the cost of batteries can somehow be included in the cost of their exchange, relatively speaking – according to a leasing scheme. And besides, with the improvement of battery manufacturing technologies, a colossal sales market will appear in the form of a form-factor compatible transport.
The consortium has been testing battery-swappable scooters since last year in collaboration with Osaka University (as part of the e-Yan Osaka program), and now an agreement has been reached specifically on the specifications of such batteries with the participation of the Society of Transportation Engineers of Japan. The document was issued under the symbol TP21003.