Manufacturers form removable battery consortium

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Yamaha, Honda, KTM and Piaggio group (Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Derbi, and Scarabeo) have joined together to form a removable battery for light electric vehicles. Removable batteries for two-wheeled vehicles have often been touted to answer poor range and long charging times. Could a power bank of batteries all charged/charging help the current situation?

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The manufacturers that have signed up to the consortium believe that producing a standardised swappable battery system made more available could promote the use of Electric two-wheeled machines reducing Co2 emissions and increasing the batteries’ life cycle.

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This is an interesting move, focused on reducing global Co2 emissions, but furthermore interesting is that the UK government has said that 2 wheeled vehicles are exempt from the 2030 internal combustion ban for new vehicles. Whilst this is current for 2021, there will be a ban, and of course, there are 9 years for the government to change its mind.

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Using this method could enable quick ‘charges’ by swapping an uncharged battery for a charged battery in a few minutes, much like filling a vehicle with regular fuel. This can make EV’s more practical in the long run, allowing a greater range. Many problems with EVs lie within the charging part, i.e. it takes too long, and infrastructure is lacking with both too few charging places and many out of order.

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Standardising a battery unit also comes with cost advantages. It is much cheaper to make one unit for everybody than for everybody to have individual units. This can only be seen as a positive, as any form of cost reduction is good and will bring electric vehicles into more people’s grasp.

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This new consortium is aiming to produces the technical specifications and standards of the new swappable battery system for L category vehicles. This consists of mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quads. Expected to start activities during May 20210, the founding members are all encouraged and interested in progressing and enriching each others experience.

I believe the creation of this Consortium holds great significance not just for Europe but the world as we move towards establishing standards for swappable batteries for light electric vehicles. I’m confident that through work like this, the technical specs and standards, that currently differ by regional characteristics or the state of the industry in different markets will be unified, and, in the future, will help lead towards maximizing the merits of electric power for customers on a global level.

Executive Officer Takuya Kinoshita, Chief General Manager of Motorcycle Business Operations, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd

Previously objections to such a move have been raised, with the awkward point being raised to defective batteries or warranty issues that may arise. By swapping out batteries, you could be swapping a 100% new battery for a battery with only 50% expected life left, but this can also work the other way round. Some manufacturers have already applied for patents regarding removable battery systems, and it will be interesting to see if more manufactures join onboard the consortium to further EV technology along. Is a removable batter the answer? Let us know on Twitter

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 “The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe. For the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles, problems such as travel distance and charging times need to be addressed, and swappable batteries are a promising solution. Considering customer convenience, standardization of swappable batteries and wide adoption of battery systems is vital, which is why the four member manufacturers agreed to form the Consortium.

Honda views improving the customers’ usage environment as an area to explore cooperation with other manufacturers, while bringing better products and services to customers through competition. Honda will work hard on both fronts to be the ‘chosen’ manufacturer for customer mobility.”

Noriaki Abe | Managing Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

One thing for sure is we are looking forward to seeing what the consortium can come up with and how this can revolutionise the powered two-wheeler industry, and what companies join on board at a later date.