According to a report today posted on MotorCycleNews.com, 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.
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.
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.
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.