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The Japanese Big Four Decide To Work Together For Electric Bikes

Big Four Battery Pack

According to a report today posted on, it seems that Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki have put aside their rivalry for the benefit of the consumer.

At least, that is, in the realm of electric bikes.

Last year, an agreement was made between the four that they would work together to make modular battery packs for their electric bikes interchangeable. With today’s announcement, it looks like that is coming true.

Big Four Battery Pack
The Honda PCX Electric Scooter

The “e-Yan Osaka” trial, in cooperation with Osaka University, will be putting battery packs and electric bikes and scooters from all four manufacturers to the test. It is meant to demonstrate how industry cooperation and standardization can revolutionize the coming electric bike market.

While the battery packs in use have yet to be revealed, the best bet is that they will all be based on Honda’s “Mobile Power Pack” system for their PCX Electric and Benly-e Japanese market bikes.

The trial will involve faculty and students at Osaka University being loaned electric motorcycles and scooters. Battery swap stations will be located across the campus, as well as at local convenience stores.

Big Four Battery Pack
Honda battery packs in the PCX Scooter

The point of the trial is to demonstrate that instead of putting in huge battery packs, such as in the Harley-Davidson Livewire or Zero SR/S, and having to charge it at home or at work, it’s easier to simply swap out the power pack.

In effect, the rider would ride to the University, stop at a battery exchange point, take out the drained power pack from their bike, insert a fully charged pack from the exchange point, and put his or her drained battery into the exchange point to be charged.

Big Four Battery Pack
Honda power packs in a Honda Benly-E scooter

The test is set to run over the course of 12 months. This is to pick up any issues, test the quick-charge system at all the battery exchange points, and ensure the interoperability of the power packs between all four manufacturers.

What emerges may very well become the common battery for, at least, Japanese electric motorcycles. In effect, the big four are working to make a power pack for bikes that work as AA batteries work for everything from flashlights to video game controllers.

  1. I have long maintained that this (battery swapping) system is the best way to implement electric vehicles. In effect E stations rather than gas stations. That method will require much less infrastructure and electrical system load than every home having a class 2 charger. That motorcycle makers are leading the way is not entirely surprising.

  2. If only the auto makers would have collaborated on common points, such as charging plugins we would be further along on electric vehicles than we are now. I foe one commend the motorcycle makers for cooperating like they are. Even if it only results in a common charging port, it will be a win for them and the consumer.

  3. ABOUT TIME this as happened as a lot of us want to go electric but here in uk charging points are low 2 kinds & the waiting time sucks so this is perfect to sort these things out.Spot on Japan World take notice

  4. Well, I for one love the pop, burble and spit of my engine on overrun. The sound of the engine, idling or working hard is part of what ‘biking is all about. When there are no longer conventional engines for ‘bikes, it’ll be time for me to hang up my lid. Sad but true.

    1. Well said. The audio visual fusion experience of motorcycling is fundamental to the experience. “Get the motor running, head out on the highway”.

  5. Much, much better than sitting around while your bike charges.
    Pick up a new power pack, insert it, and be on your way.
    Nice work, Big 4.
    Face it, electric is the wave of the future, and carmakers should take notice of this.
    When my old gasoline-powered motorcycle finally gives up the ghost, I’ll be going electric.
    great article Simon.

  6. I have no issue with an electric bike, I just have not liked the look of any of them. I’m partial to the cruisers or larger bag bikes. If anyone comes up with ones that look like the Boulevards, Stars, Road Kings, or the original Vulcan. Not into crotch rockets or sci-fi.

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