Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki Testing Swappable Electric Batteries

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki will test new swappable electric batteries at Osaka University.
Brad Bergan
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Japan's Big Four motorcycle manufacturers — including Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha — have joined forces to develop and test electric motorcycle designs.

Together, the companies are ready to start tests on their shared swappable battery design for electric motorcycles, according to an initial report from Motorcycle News (MCN).


Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki developing swappable electric battery

Testing of the new swappable electric battery will move forward at Osaka University, and goes by the name "e-Yan OSAKA." Battery-swap stations will see installation throughout the campus, in addition to nearby convenience stores, reports Electrek.

The consortium hasn't shared technical specifications about the swappable batteries, but some speculate they're likely to follow Honda's lead — using the swappable battery packs from Honda's PCX and Benly electric scooters, reports the MCN.

Electric battery issues tested for effectiveness

Noriaki Abe, Honda's managing executive officer and head of motorcycle business operations, said: "As a result of repeated collaboration studies among four domestic motorcycle companies we were able to collaborate with e-Yan OSAKA to verify the common specifications of replaceable batteries. We are aware that there are still issues to be solved in the spread of electric motorcycles, and we will continue to work on improving the usage environment of our customers in areas where each company can cooperate."

The e-Yan OSAKA trial should last for one year, while the consortium studies the effectiveness of its new battery designs — in addition to the battery swapping stations — to eventually decide which one should move forward with final production.

Honda Benly Electric Battery
Honda's 'BENLY e' electric scooter battery. Source: Honda

Swappable options trump over-sized long-range batteries

The trial will involve the loaning of electric bikes to students and staff at Osaka University, reports MCN. The goal is to help owners find ways of charging their bikes at home or work, rather than building big, heavy, long-range batteries into the bikes.

Swappable batteries are a great way to avoid the pitfalls of oversized batteries with overly-complicated engineering. It's an engineering rule of thumb that simplicity in design makes for a more robust performance, simply because there's less potential for things to go wrong. With Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki joining forces to simplify a motorycle power source, the electric motorcycle industry seems primed for a major upgrade.

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