Yamaha has filed yet another patent that shows yet again that they lean toward leaning trikes, this time with a hybrid powertrain.
The Japanese company already has a lean on leaning trikes with their TriCity scooter and Niken motorcycle. They have also filed several patents before for leaning three-wheelers.
They are not alone in pursuing trikes that lean with patents from Honda, Kawasaki and several other companies such as AKO.
Yamaha’s patent seems to be a stripped-down or lean version of the MW-Vision concept unveiled last year at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show.
There is a lot to be said for the concept of leaning trikes.
They improve front cornering grip and braking and, when it has a locking function at standstill, it means you don’t have to support the weight of the bike.
However, the disadvantages are extra weight and expense.
If those two disadvantages could be offset by making them more economical to run, then it would make them even more attractive to some riders, especially novices.
That could be attained by the use of a hybrid powertrain as suggested in this patent.
However, it’s not a hybrid like a Prius where a combination of an electric motor and internal-combustion engine drive the wheels.
It’s what’s called a series hybrid or range-extender hybrid where an ICE simply charges a battery which powers an electric motor that drives the wheels.
They aren’t the first to trial a series hybrid.
The cheap Chevrolet Volt and expensive Fisker Karma had similar arrangements.
However the Volt has been discontinued and Fisker has gone broke, so it seems to suggest it was not a popular concept.
And Kawasaki recently filed a patent in the Japanese Patent Office for a slightly different take on the range-extender hybrid with a supercharged two-stroke engine to charge the battery.
There are no details about the type of ICE Yamaha plans to use in their series hybrid, but the hybrid leaning trike does show that the industry is starting to think beyond purely electric motorcycles.