Japanese auto majors Honda and Yamaha along with European firms Piaggio & C SpA and KTM AG on Tuesday announced setting up of a ‘swappable batteries consortium’ for motorcycles and light electric vehicles (EVs). The aim of the consortium will be to define standardised technical specifications of swappable battery systems for vehicles belonging to the L-category — mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles. The founding members of the consortium said in the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and the transition to electromobility, availability of a standardised 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.
Also, by extending the range, shortening the charging time and lowering vehicle and infrastructure costs, the manufacturers will try to answer customers’ main concerns regarding the future of electromobility, the companies said in separate statements. “By working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardisation bodies, the founding members of the consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards,” they said. Commenting on the development, Honda Motor Co Ltd Managing Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Noriaki Abe said, “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, standardisation of swappable batteries and wide adoption of battery systems is vital, which is why the four member manufacturers agreed to form the consortium, he added. “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,” Abe said. Expressing similar views, Yamaha Motor Co Ltd, Chief General Manager of Motorcycle Business Operations and Executive Officer Takuya Kinoshita said,”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.” 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 maximising the merits of electric power for customers on a global level, he added. Piaggio Group Chief of strategy and product Michele Colaninno said the signatories show their proactiveness vis- -vis the major concerns of their customers and the political priorities as regards the electrification of vehicles. “An international standard for the swappable batteries system will make this technology efficient and at the disposal of the consumers. Finally, a strengthened cooperation among manufacturers and institutions will allow the industry to better respond to the main challenges of the future of mobility,” he added. Stating that the consortium will start its activities in May 2021, the founding members asked all interested stakeholders to join the cooperation to enrich the consortium’s expertise.