KTM, HONDA & YAMAHA REACH NEXT STEP IN ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE DEVELOPMENT

KTM, HONDA, YAMAHA & PIAGGIO REACH NEXT STEP IN ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE & LIGHT ELECTRIC VEHICLE DEVELOPMENT

We originally reported back in March when the first “Letter of intent” was signed between KTM, Honda, Yamaha and the Piaggio motorcycle groups to create a standardized battery and charger system for electric motorcycles and light weight electric vehicles (like scooters and mopeds). Now, the deal has officially been signed and this press release from KTM Austria details the agreement a little more in-depth.

Electric motorcycles are definitely coming, but the answer for “When?” and “How?” is still to be determined. The MXA wrecking crew is made up of combustion engine junkies who love two-strokes and four-strokes, none of our testers own electric bikes—well at least not full sized ones. The KTM E-5 Electric Mini bikes are a hit for kids and Daryl Ecklund’s son, Caselli, loves his. We’ve been talking to the KTM guys and they’ve assured us that they don’t plan on replacing any internal combustion engine motorcycles with electric motorcycles, but they are also honest about the desire to bring new people into the sport of motorcycling while using the fact that electric motorcycles require less maintenance and produce minimal noise to help promote our sport to new riders.

You can read our latest interview with KTM North America’s CEO John Hinz talking about the introduction of electric bikes, where he explains how KTM is introducing new riders to the sport on E-bikes by clicking here.


Press Release: September 6th, 2021 – Following the signing of the Letter of Intent on March 1, KTM F&E GmbH, HONDA Motor Co., Ltd., PIAGGIO Group (PIA.MI) and YAMAHA Motor Co., Ltd., have officially signed the agreement for the creation of the Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC).

Committed to the promotion of the widespread use of light electric vehicles, such as mopeds, scooters, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles in the transport sector and to the more sustainable life-cycle management of batteries in the context of international climate policies, the founding members of the Consortium believe that the availability of a commonly developed swappable battery systems is key to the development of low-voltage electromobility.

The underlying aim of the Consortium is to find solutions to the concerns customers may have regarding the future of electromobility, such as the range, the charging time and infrastructure, and costs. This will be achieved in accordance with four primary goals:

  1. Develop common technical specifications of the swappable battery systems
  2. Confirm common usage of the battery systems
  3. Make and promote the Consortium’s common specifications a standard within European and International standardization bodies
  4. Expand the use of the Consortium’s common specification to global level

Here’s a look at KTM’s electric Freeride dirt bike on the charger. This bike has been on the market for years now, but KTM hasn’t promoted it much.

By working closely with interested stakeholders and National, European and International standardization bodies, the founding members of the Consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards. Indeed, the availability of charging stations varies between countries and there is still limited information for end users. Therefore, with this Consortium, KTM, HONDA, PIAGGIO and YAMAHA aim at engaging the decision makers for the development and deployment of charging infrastructure to promote the increase of light electric vehicles.

The four founding members encourage all interested stakeholders to join the cooperation to enrich the Consortium’s expertise in order to ensure a large diffusion of standard swappable batteries in the future. Parties who are interested to join the SBMC can contact one of the founding members for further information.

Stefan Pierer, CEO PIERER Mobility AG: “The signing of this Consortium agreement is a key step in ensuring that PIERER Mobility AG, can continue to move forward, deliver innovation at pace, and advance its clear strategic vision for electric powered two-wheelers. Together with our partners, we will work to deliver a swappable battery system for low-voltage vehicles (48V) up to 11kW capacity, based on international technical standards. We very much look forward to ensuring that powered two-wheeler vehicles maintain their role in the future of both urban and non-urban mobility.”

Here’s a look at the first Honda CR-E. This was first shown off in Japan in 2019. The motor was developed by Mugen, who built the Mugen E.Rex dinosaur-themed electric motocross bike back in 2017. Mugen also developed the Mugen Shinden electric Superbike that has won the electric class at the Isle of Man TT six times since 2012.

The Honda CR-E in action. 

Yoshishige Nomura, Chief Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.: “Honda believes that the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles can play an important part in realising a more sustainable society. For that purpose, we need to solve several challenges such as extending the range, shortening the charging time and lowering the vehicle and infrastructure costs to enhance convenience for customers. In the Consortium we have created, the founding members from the motorcycle industry and other stakeholders will work together towards standardizing swappable batteries, their charging systems and surrounding infrastructure to create the environment for their use. Our final goal is to ensure that motorcycles will continue to be chosen as a useful method of transportation in future mobility.”

Michele Colaninno, Chief of strategy and product of Piaggio Group: “Urban mobility is going through a delicate moment of transition towards electrification. Thanks to our Consortium, representing four major global players, motorbikes will continue to play a key role in the urban context. Swappable batteries give the right answer to speed up the recharging time of vehicles offering an additional valuable choice for users. Urban mobility is part of the Piaggio DNA and history: our aim is to bring all our technological know-how and attitude for innovation to the Consortium.”

Takuya Kinoshita, Senior Executive Officer, Chief General Manager of Land Mobility Business Operations, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.: “The Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium in Europe is finally ready to get to work. I hope that this first step forward will be a beacon that draws like-minded parties to our mission and leads to transformative changes for the future. We at Yamaha Motor are confident that through this initiative, we can help unify the differing technical specs and standards and contribute to maximizing the merits of electric power for customers around the world.”

KTM NORTH AMERICA’S CEO JOHN HINZ TALKS ELECTRIC BIKES: VIDEO

The KTM and Husqvarna E-5 electric bikes have been a hit. It’s hard to believe that the stars of Supercross in 2035 will have started riding on an electric bike like this one. Now we just hope that they aren’t racing electric bikes as adults by then. 

KTM’s electric Freeride bike.

Close up on the Mugen Honda CR-E prototype from 2019.

Another angle of the CR-E motor. 

KTM’s electric Freeride motor.

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