Motorcycle makers team up

Back in March of this year, talks about major motorcycle manufacturers teaming up to create a swappable battery consortium was initiated. The goal is to create electric motorcycles with batteries, chargers, and electrical systems that are compatible or even interchangeable with each other.

Six months later, the pact was formally signed between the Japanese (Honda and Yamaha) and European (Piaggio and KTM) motorcycle manufacturers to form the Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium or SBMC.

Japan and Europe formally sign pact for swappable batteries image

According to the four manufacturers, the aim is to find a solution to the current challenges and limitations that electric mobility has, such as range, charging time, infrastructure, and costs.

The SBMC hopes to solve these challenges 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 the global level.

Japan and Europe formally sign pact for swappable batteries image

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.

Right now, charging stations for electric vehicles vary between countries and there is still limited information for end-users.

The goal of the consortium is to inform decision-makers about the proper development and deployment of charging infrastructure, perhaps even the choice of charging station, that will promote the highest usage 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,” said the newly-formed SBMC through a statement.

What this means is that future electric motorcycles from Yamaha, Honda, KTM, or Piaggio will have standard batteries that can be swapped with each other. You can put a Vespa battery in a Honda motorcycle or vice versa. In addition, the battery charging and swapping infrastructure will be interoperable with these brands. You could charge or swap your Yamaha battery at a KTM charging or swapping station and vice versa.

That's certainly a good idea and will likely encourage more to go electric, particularly if it doesn't matter which brand you get.