Electric cars are already taking over some countries. But motorcycles could follow soon. Perhaps one aspect stopping their widespread adoption is their small size, only capable of carrying a small battery. This equates to a short range of as far as 100 kilometers at the most.
There's another caveat, which is charging time. Even with a special high voltage quick charger, that could take up to 30 minutes or more; a luxury that most of us don’t have with our often very busy schedules. To solve this, manufacturers are exploring swappable battery tech to avoid long charging times.
This works by removing the battery of the motorcycle and dropping it off at a station to replace with a recharged one, in much the same way we do with empty water bottles or LPG tanks. Unfortunately, there currently are no standardized sizes set for this. It could be costly for one brand alone to set up stations for their special battery. That's why some brands think it's best to standardize and share the cost. If several brands use the same battery and stations, the cost of setting up these stations and producing batteries could be cheaper.
Honda's battery swapping facility in the island of Romblon
Honda is now taking a step towards this and wants to collaborate with other manufacturers in the hopes of standardizing battery swapping systems for their future electric mobility products.
Just recently, Honda announced that they have signed a letter of intent with KTM AG, Piaggio & C SpA and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. to set up a Swappable Batteries Consortium for Motorcycles and Light Electric Vehicles.
“In the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and the transition to electromobility, the founding members of the Consortium believe that the availability of a standardized swappable battery system would both promote the widespread use of light electric vehicles and contribute to a more sustainable life-cycle management of batteries used in the transport sector,” says Honda.
The aim of the Consortium will, therefore be, to define the standardized technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category; mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles. 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.
The Consortium will start its activities in May 2021. The four founding members encourage all interested stakeholders to join the cooperation to enrich the Consortium’s expertise.
2 years ago, Honda had already launched a testbed campaign for its own battery swapping technology in the Province of Romblon here in the country. The project was launched to study how a system could benefit a small community and to see if it could be powered by renewable energy.