Yamaha Ramps Up Electric Motorcycle Development

2 weeks ago by Rideapart.com 9

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Electronic powertrains are the way of the future.

With most big OEM’s struggling to find a steady market, focus is slowly shifting away from bikes powered by dead dinosaurs toward those powered by electrons. Yamaha currently offers e-versions of its lineup’s smallest scooters, but Yamaha’s new CEO Yoshihiro Hidaka – who was the company’s corporate planning chief up until last month – aims to add more powerful e-two-wheelers to the company’s list of offerings.

Hidaka plans to get the ball rolling by adding e-powered variants of the company’s popular 125cc scooters that will reportedly possess a standard output of up to 1kW. This may seem like a minor increase, but Hidaka sees this as the first step in creating larger and increasingly more powerful e-models as the technology continues to advance. A major part of the overall plan involves this month’s merging of business units tasked with developing electric motors and internal-combustion engines into a single powertrain unit that will share resources.

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Yamaha is optimistic that the development of technologies such as increased battery life can be utilized and taken advantage of by a handful of the corporation’s subsidiaries, not just its motorcycle division. A single advancement has potential application in a wide variety of areas, what’s good for Yamaha’s scooters is also good for its golf-carts, industrial robots, and so on.

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As Randle recently pointed out, the difference between electric and gas bikes is far more than just a two-wheeler’s respective fuel-source, and the ramifications of an increasingly electric motorcycle market are extensive and somewhat unpredictable. However, the more standardized the electric market becomes the better. The growth of the e-bike segment has even seen Yamaha partner up with Honda on an e-scooter project. Yamaha’s current plans are only a small piece of a much bigger picture, but the company’s investment in the technology represents a trend in the industry as a whole. You might not be able to hear them, but electric bikes are a coming.

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9 responses to "Yamaha Ramps Up Electric Motorcycle Development"

  1. Randy says:

    They better hurry or be left behind….https://www.altamotors.co/#the-future-of-fast

  2. Vinny says:

    It doesn’t look like Zero, Energica or Alta have anything to worry about from Yamaha. Pretty sad.

  3. bibou64 says:

    The majors – yamaha, kawasaki, honda, suzuki, ducati…. are doing nothing.
    So, the only way to move is to raise country regulations.
    Except harley davidson (but i dont think they are selling any EV) and Bmw on the scooter market.
    Ten years after automotive industry, why are they still waiting ?

    1. Steven says:

      The Harley Davidson Livewire is a technology testbed. It’s not in production, nor do I expect that the bike as shown will ever make it to production.

      Yes, I saw them close up at my local dealership.

      But, if they don’t want to be just a memory, they better bring something to market.

  4. John Doe says:

    To me, my motorcycle represent the ultimate in fast, personal freedom of movement.

    I can ride it to the fast ferry to Denmark, and after 2 hours and 15 minutes, I’m there.
    Later that night, I’m in Barcelona in Catalonia. I can then sleep, and take the ferry to Ibiza, Mallorca – or just ride on south to the ferry to Africa, or the Canary Islands.
    A lot of experiences in a short time is sometimes nice. It may sound hectic, but it really chargers my batteries when you’re fed up with calculations, simulations and running pre production testing time after time.

    Until there is a real breakthrough in battery tech, with the right charging infrastructure – I need my regular motorcycles.

    I could use a small electric scooter or MC to and from work with no problem. . But that distance it within reach of my electric bicycle, or when it rains or snows I may use the EV.. or I walk if I have the time.

    Still. . . I think the second bike I’m going to buy will be an electric one. I’m going to keep on of the older once though.

  5. rad says:

    To much of the world, 1000 watts is a scooter. In CA, TN, GA and a few other states, that is a street legal electric bicycle.

    I’ve seen pictures and read articles about the two Yamaha electric motorcycles for a couple years. Always “in the near future”. Sad, they are afraid to make the leap.

  6. Mark says:

    Intentions are good but it looks like execution is going to be rubbish. For start, they should bring expensive bikes to the market first, and work their way down from there. If that means slashing the size of their drivetrain development team by half and hiring experts in electrical propulsion – so be it. Better do it now than be forced to do it by stockholders in 5 years.

    There is maybe 2-3 years left before newcomers ramp up their businesses, China starts making quality bikes, and other incumbents start offering electric versions of their staple products.

  7. wavelet says:

    A scooter-class machine — of which 65 million are expected to be sold this year, 60M in China alone — is nothing radical, and hardly constitutes “Ramping Up Electric Motorcycle Development”.
    Let’s see them (and the rest of the big moto vendors) offer at least Zero-class, or Alta-class offroad machines.
    No concept vehicles or pie-in-sky research required — just actual commitment to a real product with straightforward development.

  8. Jim stack says:

    He market is ready for them. They are just behind the times. Thank goodness for the others.
    We really need pollution standards like cars have. For too long trucks , motorcycles and lawn equipment has been allowed to keep making tons of pollution.

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