With the growing environmental concerns around the world fast pushing the need to switch to electric mobility, automakers are seen coming together to collaborate and accelerate this transition.
In the latest development, leading global two-wheeler manufacturers including Japan’s Honda Motor Corporation and chief competitor Yamaha Motor Company, Austria’s KTM and Italy’s Piaggio, have announced signing a letter of intent in order to setup 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 standardised 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.
Furthermore, by extending the range, shortening charging time and lowering vehicle and infrastructure costs, the four automakerswill aim to answer customers’ key concerns and reluctances towards switching to electric mobility.
According to a Honda press statement, “The aim of the consortium will, therefore, be to define the standardised 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 standardisation bodies, the founding members of the consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards,” it further added.
Commenting on the four companies joining hands, Noriake Abe, managing officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Company, said, “The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe. For the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles, problems such as travel distance and charging times need to be addressed, and swappable batteries are a promising solution.”
“Considering customer convenience, standardisation of swappable batteries and wide adoption of battery systems is vital, which is why the four member manufacturers agreed to form the consortium. Honda views improving the customers’ usage environment as an area to explore cooperation with other manufacturers, while bringing better products and services to customers through competition. Honda will work hard on both fronts to be the ‘chosen’ manufacturer for customer mobility,” Abe added.
In India too, battery swapping is being considered as one of the answers to resolve the range anxiety associated with electric vehicles, as well as a means to lower the vehicle’s acquisition cost by offering battery through a pay-per-use model. Bangalore-based Sun Mobility is making strides in the area with the start-up which is now also invested into by Bosch, tying up with oil marketing companies like Indian Oil to setup its swap stations across the country.
The company is operating this model for electric two-wheelers, and also partnering with OEMs like Piaggio for driving battery swapping in commercial electric three-wheelers to ensure maximum vehicle uptime.