Big names in the Motorcycle Industry form alliance for swappable batteries

Some of the big names in the motorcycle making world are coming together to form a partnership. The alliance is aimed at creating a model that ensures e-bikes, scooters and other light weight electric vehicles can swap batteries. The four companies are KTM, Piaggio, Honda and Yamaha.

The consortium have agreed to standardize their batteries so that users can use one battery from a brand on a bike from another brand. The whole process is slated to begin in May of this year.

This agreement shows that electric motorcycle are embracing co-operation as they chart a path for the relatively nascent offshoot of the auto industry, as opposed to pursuing proprietary technologies. It will make the infrastructure required for e-bikes to thrive easier to procure, thereby accelerating its acceptance among bikers.

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Many potential customers have hesitated on buying electric bikes due to what is known as ‘range anxiety’, the fear of being stranded with a spent battery in the middle of nowhere. But technologies like swappable batteries can spur innovative solutions that ensure that recharging a depleted battery can happen anywhere and in a relatively short period. Long distance bikers for example can rest easy knowing they can carry extra battery packs on their trips.

The consortium is inviting other bike makers to join to create an industry wide standard, as is alluded to in the statement it put to the press:

“The aim of the Consortium will 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.”

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A deal like this had been signed in the past, involving some members of this new consortium; Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha. It remains to be seen how the two companies signed on to both deals will move ahead.

The e-bike industry is not the only one intrigued by the concept of swappable batteries though. Some car makers pursued the idea but could not overcome the complexities involved as cars have much more variables to cater to. But that has not stopped some startups from actively developing the technology. Electric bicycle and scooter makers have found more success though as many models already are capable of interchanging their power packs.

Some of the firms involved in this agreement already produce electric bikes that use removable batteries, which means the logical next step is standardizing the tech.

Written by D.O. for