The world is full of non-standard technology, from international plug sockets to electric car charging points – in the main they are not compatible with each other, making life more complicated and less user friendly.
Frankly it is just irritating for the consumer, so this move from four of the main Japanese motorcycle makers is most welcome for when the inevitable electric motorcycles truly arrive.

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki have united and standardised their technology to bring out batteries which are interchangeable between the different makes of motorcycle. Halleluia! This is a great step towards the simplification of electric bikes, meaning that garages and battery swap stations can simply stock quantities of fully charged standard battery packs, ready for motorcyclists to pull in and swap them over. With this in place, refuelling will suddenly become a five minute battery swap job and not require the long waits currently needed for recharging, it’ll be quicker than filling the petrol tank in fact.

This collaboration is mutually beneficial for all four of the big Japanese motorcycle manufacturers and incentivises buying any of the electric versions. Now, lets say a Honda motorcycle can use the same battery as a Kawasaki, thanks to the Swappable Battery Consortium for Electric Motorcycles. Honda, KTM, Yamaha and Piaggio are also trying to get to the same point of collaboration – how amazing would it be if standardisation is across the board?!

The range of electric motorcycles will no longer be such a major issue once this tech is adopted, as a machine with a long range between charges will not be the holy grail when quick and convenient battery swapping is available everywhere. The individual batteries themselves won’t need to be so big and heavy either, as they won’t have to deliver a 200 mile range between charges, if swapping them over is so easy.

Rather than buying a big expensive battery up front and running it until it needs charging or replacing, you will pay a smaller amount each time you swap the battery pack. The range will get longer over time as the battery technology improves as well. The rider advantage of this is that they will gain from the battery advances without having to trade your motorcycle in for a new model each time there’s a tech upgrade.

All in all, this looks like a triumph of reason and after two years of hammering out the details, it’s a win-win for all of the four companies and motorcyclist.

Electric motorcycles are coming, whether you are a fan or not, but things like this make their adoption just that little bit easier.

What do you think, does this mean you are more likely to hop aboard an electric Suzuki when given the chance? Let us know at or drop us a message on Facebook


03/08/21 - In response to your artical about MAG survey re ban of ICE models &/or replacement with electric bikes.

I was heartened to see the 4 bike manufacturer article re swappable battery packs. This would be a significant improvemnet if bikes were manufactured with a battery sized hole with a specific connection in said hole.  Thus as indicated a battery swap would take mere minutes, rather than the .5-1.5hrs currently required for a quick charge & would allow bikes to run a smaller electric motor with a smaller battery pack due to the reduced weight.  This will only work if the Gov mandates it though, otherwise there will be a mishmash of different technologies, different charging, different connectors as is currently the case.

ICE engined vehicles only work because there are (in general) only two fuels, petrol or diesel, regardless of the vehicle design. Big tanks take longer to fill, but other than that the tech to do so is identical. I can fill my car or an articulated lorry at the same diesel pump.

There will NEVER be enough battery charging points if you have to have space to park a vehicle at each one! Not to mention those who don't have private car parking at home. Cars could use the same technology, with a machine to do the battery swap, but manufacturers don't want to play nice, hence Gov should mandate it. Then cars could have a 5 minute battery swap too. And charging stations would be able to use high tech chargers with best rate charging to get max energy in a battery with minimal degredation to said battery packs. Fast charging is really bad for battery packs. Those above without parking would now be no different from anyone else.

So at the moment I'm happy with ICE power & would ONLY swap to electric if there is a more convenient way to recharge it in less than 10 minutes, like say a battery swap capability. Electric bikes have a lot going for them, except for the weight of the batteries & the cost of light weight enclosures due to excessive battery weight. If battery packs were half the size, you would NOT need expensive carbon fibre enclosures & could use cheap alloy ones instead. Likewsie you could do away with the weight of the onboard charge controller & cabling etc thus freeing more space for a less densely packed air cooled battery pack ! Plus as battery storage gets denser, you will get more from the same sized space.

03/08/21 - Why would you swap a new battery pack for one of unknown age as it becomes pertinent when reselling your bike or buying a used bike.

03/08/21 - I seriously doubt that electric bikes will be within financial reach for many. Price, weight, speed and range are issues for me. Making or buying a bigger petrol tank is no problem, but battery size and weight is. We know it's coming but everyone needs to be realistic, especially manufacturers and governments both of whom treat us as cash-cows. FTW. ⚡

03/08/21 - This makes perfect sense in context for Japan. Most people ride around on sub 250cc bikes (exempt from MOT), and there’s Combinis (convenience stores) everywhere in Japan, even across the countryside. So small electric replacements would be ideal.
This initial development is not intended for Euoprean style big bike big miles type riding

02/08/21 - What would really be useful is to just roll up to a service station and swap a flat battery for a charged one, no actual waiting for charging required.

02/08/21 - trouble is if you bought a brand new bike with a brand new battery...would you want to swap it with an unknown overused old one that doesn't hold its charge as much?

02/08/21 - there would need to be some sort of guarantee as part of the scheme. Battery health, not just charge level, meters exist, they need to be built in and the suppliers need to be able to assure a minimum.

02/08/21 - Only for Scooters I believe. Think the batteries for big bikes will be built in so unable to swap out. As a stop gap one of these batteries in addition to the main battery would be a good idea, at enough for another 20 miles or so to get you home like the old reserve tap.

02/08/21 - It makes sense. When out riding there may be a scheme where you simply swap batteries instead of waiting to charge them.

02/08/21 - Got to be a positive move. And for all you nay sayers, electric has been decreed as the way forward whether we like it or not..

02/08/21 - Swappable power packs is definitely the way to go.

02/08/21 - No, it wouldn't.

02/08/21 - At last, a little common sense, European manufacturers need to join

02/08/21 - It’s a good start - shame batteries are a false economy for the planet. Hydrogen - that’s where it’s at!!

02/08/21 - sadly no ones talking about this, but I ask the same question?

02/08/21 - Mazda refuse to spend any R&D on electric (I know they’re a car co. The models they have to produce are rebadged other makes! The whole electric push is a joke

Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 21 July 2021 in General News



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