The motorcycle industry hasn’t embraced electric propulsion with quite the same gusto as some of its four-wheeled counterparts, with only a smattering of EV offerings currently catering for electric riders.
Fewer in New Zealand too, given we don’t have the likes of Zero or Energica. We’ll get the Harley-Davidson LiveWire later this year, the first major manufacturer offering an electric option here.
Harley might not be alone for much longer though, as Suzuki has confirmed it is developing a range of electric bikes and scooters for a 2021 launch. We might see them earlier in prototype form too.
The news was confirmed to Autocar India by Suzuki Motorcycle India’s managing director, Koichiro Hirao. He didn’t give any details but, given the locale of the interview, we would assume the first models will be cheaper, entry-level models as opposed to expensive flagships.
* First production Harley Davidson LiveWire lands in NZ
* Suzuki reveals futuristic dune buggy
* Triple-powered Suzuki Swift RS is small in size but big on performance
* India’s green car plan prioritises electric vehicles over hybrids
Previously, Suzuki showed off the Extrigger concept, an electric concept that could have gone up against the Honda Grom or Kawasaki Z125. Kawasaki showed off an electric sports bike last year, while Yamaha also revealed the E01 and E02 electric scooters and the TY-E electric trials bike.
Honda has also put effort into electric propulsion, using last year’s Tokyo Motorcycle Show to display its electric CRF dirtbike and the Benly electric scooter. Neither have been given the production green light.
Aside from concepts, Honda only sells the PCX Electric scooter but only in specific Asian markets. Personally, I’m still waiting for the awesome little Cub EV to hit production.
None of the Big Four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have brought an electric two-wheeler to the global market yet but they could be forgiven for stalling as Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha all co-signed a statement agreeing to work towards standardising replaceable batteries for electric motorcycles.
This would dampen production plans but allow each manufacturer to sell EVs that can easily swap flat batteries for fully charged ones. The four manufacturers will also work together on creating the supporting infrastructure, which could piggy back off the existing petrol station network.
The system would negate one of the biggest issues with electric power – charge times – as well as help reduce range anxiety.
According to Japanese reports, the deal will initially focus on small commuter models, roughly equivalent to 125cc scooters.