A consortium of manufacturers representing half the global motorcycle market announced an agreement Friday for a standardized battery-swapping system for electric motorcycles.
The Swappable Battery Consortium for Electric Motorcycles includes the top Japanese motorcycle manufacturers: Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. In a press release, the group said its goal is to use battery swapping to increase electric-motorcycle adoption in Japan.
The consortium has been "formulating the standards for multiple-use swappable batteries and their replacement systems," and has participated in a testing program run by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association's Electric Motorcycle Promotion Subcommittee in the country's Osaka Prefecture, according to the release.
Japan's motorcycle manufacturers represent about 50% of the global market, Honda executive Mihara Daiki said in an interview with NHK World, calling electric motorcycles "an inevitable trend for the industry."
Yamaha PES1 electric motorcycle
Electric motorcycles have come a long way since just a couple firms—such as Zero and Lightning—started changing how we see electric bikes, similar to how Tesla changed perception of electric cars. And established firms are also slowly embracing electrification. Harley-Davidson has its LiveWire, while BMW Motorrad confirmed in 2018 that it saw electric powertrains as the future of motorcycles.
Honda Mobile Power Pack Exchanger
Many companies have experimented with battery-swapping that might be used for electric cars—including, in Honda's case, a Mobile Power Pack and surrounding automated charging-and-exchange system, as shown at CES 2018.
More recently, the Startup Ample claims its stations can complete an electric-car battery swap in just 10 minutes. However, the struggles of Tesla and Israeli startup Better Place indicate battery swapping won't be practical for electric cars for some time.
The one exception so far is Chinese automaker Nio, which operates a network of battery-swapping stations in its home country. The company previously said it completed the 500,000th battery swap in May of last year.