Honda, Suzuki, SYM and Yamaha produce motorbikes in Vietnam, where e-bikes comprise a growing sector of the transportation market. So, it stands to reason that these major scooter manufacturers soon might begin manufacture of scooters with electric drive.
Now that Vectrix, Piaggio, E-Max and others have received interest among potential buyers and endorsement in trade magazines and e-zines, and especially now that we are beginning to see more manufacturing capacity for traction batteries, e.g., Yuasa, the number one manufacturer of batteries for electric start, petrol powered, motorcycles and scooters, has started to make lithium ion batteries, to include those that could be used for traction applications, motorbike giants Honda and Yamaha are entering the market.
Green Car Congress reports that Honda and Yamaha plan to sell electric motorcycles. While not news that the Japanese companies, which have dominated the international market, have such vehicles, they so far have remained prototypes.
We have yet to see the Honda Numo or Yamaha C3+ offered commercially. Will the environmentally sensitive, scooter commuter choose what the traditional motorbike companies now have to offer or will they choose scooters with less features to save money?
The Nikkei reports that Honda Motor Co. and Yamaha Motor Co. will each launch battery-powered electric motorcycles. Yamaha is targeting a 2010 release date, Honda, a 2011 date. “Both firms hope to bring to market electric motorcycles that perform on a par with bikes with 50 cc engine displacements. The vehicles will be powered by high-performance lithium ion batteries.”
Honda is developing a commercial motorcycle that can go up to 50 km (31 miles) on a single charge, according to the report. Honda is targeting Japan Post Service Co., which is considering a switch to electric motorcycles, as a potential customer. Honda also plans to develop low-cost, long-distance electric motorcycles for ordinary consumers.
Yamaha Motor plans to introduce an electric motorcycle that can travel more than 100 km (62 miles) on a single charge. “Since the two command a combined 30% share of the global motorcycle market, their moves could spark demand for environmentally friendly offerings at home and abroad.”
With gas prices up, electric motorbikes sell like hot cakes Vietnam youth, as yoof are want to do, then customize the electric bikes to make their electric bicycles look more like motorbikes. Such a trend has been noted by the major motorbike manufacturers.
The question is whether Honda and Yamaha have waited too long and given up too much penetration to similar products from Taiwan and China. Typically, e-bike parts are made in Taiwan and China and assembled in Vietnam. While the motorbike gians have waited for standard, low cost battery packs that are reliable, robust, and powerful, Chinese manufacturers have been produced versions cheap enough to not disappoint if the batteries and battery management systems fail to meet diandong zixingche customer expectations.