Honda, KTM, Piaggio and Yamaha Motor Announce Swappable Battery Agreement

The Vespa Elettrica electric scooter. Vespa is part of the Piaggio Group.

Many have said that it is not a matter of if, but when, electric vehicles will dominate our city streets and highways. Today, we may be one step closer to that inevitability with a letter of intent jointly signed by Honda, KTM, Piaggio, and Yamaha to create the Swappable Batteries Consortium for motorcycles and Light Electric Vehicles. 

The goal of the Swappable Batteries Consortium is to help standardized technical specifications of swappable battery systems for vehicles in the L-category: mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles. In addition, the Consortium will work with interested stakeholders, as well as national, European and international governing bodies to create international technical standards for batteries. 

With standardized swappable battery systems available on the market, it would allow LEVs produced by a variety of manufacturers to have replacement batteries readily available on a widespread scale, furthering the adoption of electric vehicles. 

Other benefits of a uniform swappable battery network are in the form of reduced charging times, potentially lower vehicle ownership costs and most importantly — a larger infrastructure to support EV use. Furthermore, the Consortium believes that this will also lead to more sustainable lifecycle management of batteries used in the transport sector.

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While this news is merely an announcement of the Swappable Batteries Consortium, this could have a profound impact on e-motorcycles in the future, if it helps lead to full-scale adoption in major markets. 

The Consortium is set to launch in May 2021.

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

Noriaki Abe, Managing Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Co.: “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.”

Stefan Pierer, KTM AG CEO at the 2019 Austrian MotoGP.

Stefan Pierer, KTM AG CEO: “Sustainability is one of the key drivers to the future of mobility and electrification will play a major role in achieving this goal. For powered two-wheelers the constraints of electric drivetrains regarding range, charging time and initial cost are still evident. To overcome these challenges and provide a better customer experience, a swappable battery system based on international technical standards will become a viable solution. Considering the entire lifecycle, a widespread application of batteries compliant with a common standard will support secondary use as well as circular economy. We are glad to be part of the Consortium as we strive towards our goals in the e-mobility sector.”

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