Some time ago, we told you about the “Big 4” Japanese motorcycle manufacturers teaming to develop motorcycle battery tech. Apparently, Suzuki is learning enough to bring electric motorcycles and scooters to the market as early as 2021.
According to Autocar India, Suzuki is planning to roll out a line of electrically powered two-wheelers. Suzuki India’s Managing Director (MD) Koichiro Hirao confirmed to Autocar that Suzuki is working on an electric vehicle (EV) platform. Hirao refused to say whether they EV would be a motorcycle or a scooter, but he did confirm that it won’t be seen in 2020.
But in a previous conversation with Satoshi Uchida in 2018, Suzuki’s then MD, said that the company was already working on an electric scooter platform. He went on to say that its EV platform would deliver performance similar to 110cc and 125cc internal combustion-engined motorcycles, and feature an “India-centric” design.
Will it be a motorcycle or scooter?
Putting both MD’s comments together, we can gather that Suzuki’s first electrically powered two-wheeler will be a scooter. This is especially true since the machine is to be unveiled in India where low-cost two-wheel transportation is a vast market.
The Suzuki statement is exciting news. At this time, none of the “Big 4” are producing electric two-wheelers save Honda. And Honda is only selling a single electric model, the PCX, in a segment of specific Asian markets.
If Suzuki says that it is rolling out its first electric two-wheelers in 2021, could it be long before the other 3 Japanese manufacturers announce their plans? And if the battery tech agreement has worked out between the “Big 4”, it could be a boon to electrically powered two-wheelers.
The agreement could mean a lineup of electrically powered two-wheelers from four different manufacturers having universal batteries. The Big 4 battery agreement also has the four manufacturers working together to create a supporting infrastructure. That infrastructure will piggyback off of the existing gasoline station network. If successful, an EV owner could easily swap out discharged batteries for fully charged ones.
Think of it as a process similar to purchasing propane bottles for your gas grill. You drop off your discharged battery and insert the charged one into your machine. This system could negate some of the most significant issues with electric power. Charge times would only be as long as it takes you to remove and insert batteries. And, if the “Big 4” are successful in implementing their infrastructure plans, range anxiety could be significantly reduced.
Interesting times these.