Earlier this year we brought you the news that a quartet of some of the world’s biggest manufacturers were looking to form an alliance around the use of swappable battery tech, and now they've done just that by officially signing on the dotted line and bringing the Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) into reality.
Now, it seems like a pretty boring bit of news really, but the ramifications of these particular brands working together are potentially huge for the industry.
Back in March Honda, KTM, Piaggio and Yamaha all signed a Letter of Intent which set out the framework for the four companies to work together to design and produce common battery technology for the motorcycle market, particularly in regards to swappable batteries.
The idea of being able to simply swap the battery of your bike rather than wait around for it to charge on a plug (which takes 8+ hours on current models) would transform the viability of an electric motorcycle. With multiple nations now claiming to be phasing out internal combustion engines, the motorcycle industry needs to make electric bikes more viable if bikes are to survive.
The goals of the consortium are to promote 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 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:
Develop common technical specifications of the swappable battery systems
Confirm common usage of the battery systems
Make, and promote, the Consortium’s common specifications as a standard within European and International standardization bodies
Expand the use of the Consortium’s common specification to global level
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. Indeed, the availability of charging stations varies between countries and there is still limited information for end-users. Therefore, with this Consortium, HONDA, KTM, 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.
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
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
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.”