The agreement will motivate greater awareness and adoption of electric motorcycles, strengthen push towards carbon-neutral mobility
One of the key trends that have emerged as a result of COVID-19 has been the emphasis on health and wellness in relation to mobility. Consequently, we have seen shared mobility modes, both private and public, taking a knock with several shared mobility companies repurposing their fleets for essential services delivery. In contrast, the fortunes of micro-mobility modes, particularly e-scooters and e-motorcycles, for personal mobility and for food/goods delivery, has soared. However, challenges linked to infrastructure, charging times, range anxiety, and battery swapping technology are preventing the market from reaching its full potential.
Against this backdrop, the recent consensus on standardized swappable batteries for e-motorcycles arrived at by the Swappable Battery Consortium for Electric Motorcycles in Japan is a promising sign. We believe it will build momentum for e-motorcycle adoption in the country by making it easier for consumers to opt for this environment-friendly mobility mode.
Spurred by a mandate to boost the adoption of e-motorcycles, the Consortium—comprising leading Japanese motorcycle manufacturers Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.—was set up in April 2019. In the two years since, it has worked on developing standards for mutual-use swappable batteries and their replacement systems.
Since 2020, the Consortium has been working closely on the e-Yan OSAKA verification testing project being conducted by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association’s (JAMA) Electric Motorcycle Promotion Subcommittee, Osaka Prefecture, and Osaka University.
Combining the competencies of academia, industry, and government organizations, the project’s objective is to support the standardization of swappable batteries as well as develop the associated infrastructure to easily and conveniently supply swappable batteries. The overarching goal here is to reduce the swapping time, cut down on overall vehicle prices, boost awareness and adoption of electric motorcycles in order to accelerate the use of more sustainable forms of transport.
Why this is Important: Our Take
Among the pressing concerns restraining the uptake of e-bikes today are range anxiety and lengthy charging times. What the standardization of swappable batteries and a common infrastructure for battery replacement will do is alleviate these challenges, making the process of battery sharing quicker, easier, and more accessible.
The shorter duration of a battery swap, compared to conventional charging, will also allow for time savings, a factor that will be particularly useful for e-motorcycles used in commercial settings such as, for instance, food /goods delivery.
Over the long term, we feel that such standardization initiatives for mutual-use batteries will motivate the uptake of electric motorcycles by creating a more reinforcing ecosystem. At the same time, it will feed into the larger goals of promoting sustainable, environment-friendly, carbon-neutral mobility modes.
Japan’s Swappable Battery Consortium for Electric Motorcycles has the right idea. We don’t think it’ll long before other countries follow suit.
With inputs from Amrita Shetty, Senior Manager – Communications & Content, Mobility Practice, Frost & Sullivan