Electric motorcycles are coming.  KTM, Honda, Yamaha, and Piaggio have signed a letter of intent to set up a “Swappable Batteries Consortium for Motorcycles and Light Electric Vehicles.”

The letter of intent cites the Paris Climate Agreement.  And, the consortium members say that the availability of a standardized swappable battery system “…would both promote the widespread use of light electric vehicles and contribute to a more sustainable life-cycle management of batteries used in the transport sector.”

The motorcycle makers also said that “…by extending the range, shortening the charging time and lowering vehicle and infrastructure costs, the manufacturers will try to answer to customers’ main concerns regarding the future of electromobility.”

Standardized swappable battery specification

According to their press release, the Consortium will aim to define the standardized technical specifications for a swappable battery system for vehicles in the L-category.  Included in the L-category are mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles, and quadricycles.

Working together, the Consortium says it will work closely with interested stakeholders and National and International standardization bodies.  As founding members of the Consortium, the manufacturers will be involved in the creation of international technical standards.  Consortium members say that they will begin their work in May 2021.  And, they encourage all interested stakeholders to join to enrich the consortium’s expertise.

Commenting about the new consortium, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer said:

“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.”  

The new consortium is interesting since other manufacturers are already been working on standardized batteries.  Specifically, the Japanese “Big Four” manufacturers have been working together for quite some time.  Given that those manufacturers have already invested time and money in their solutions, do you think they and other manufacturers will join the consortium?  Or, will this lead to separate battery standards.  Let us know in the comments below.

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