Yamaha To Offer Electric Street Bikes by 2016

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You may remember the Yamaha PED1 and Yamaha PES1 electric motorcycle concepts, which the tuning fork brand debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. Modest, yet slightly futuristic looking, the overall impression we got from readers was that Yamaha was onto something with its PED1 and PES1 bikes, and it seems the Japanese OEM has heard your excitement.

Announcing plans in its 2013 Annual Report to bring the PED1 and PES1 to market by 2016, Yamaha is yet another major OEM to jump on the electric bandwagon and add legitimacy to this budding powertrain segment.

“In sports motorcycles, we are working to create new value with EV sports motorcycles, which we aim to launch in two years, with the development of the small, on-road sports PES1, as well as the PED1, which are being developed to expand the scope of electric vehicles to the off-road world. In addition to the advantages of being electrically powered, these motorcycles will offer the operability expected by existing motorcycle fans, together with a new riding experience,” says Yamaha’s annual report.

With both the PED1 and PES1 featuring swappable battery packs, Yamaha should be able to augment the limited range from its small battery size with the convenience of quick-charging swappable batteries.

As we know, the PES1 concept has already been testing with Yamaha engineers. With only two years until its production model debut, we can expect to see more consumer-ready versions testing and teasing. It will be interesting to see how Yamaha finalizes this design for the mainstream, and brings to market the first electric street bike from a major OEM.

As for the PED1, it will enter a more developed market, which has already seen the pump-fake debut of the KTM Freeride E – the Austrian brands now semi-paused electric dirt bike project.

With electrics making a little bit more sense in the off-road, trail-riding world, we imagine the swappable battery pack concept could be a killer app for this electric dirt bike, as it provides the opportunity for riders to “refuel” without a generator in between trail rides, and while in remote locations.

Of course, at the end of the day, price will be a huge factor for these machines. Already able to buy wheels, suspension, and other parts en masse, Yamaha should also  be able to make a strong price-point advantage because of the small battery sizes being used in their design.

With battery prices near $1000 / kWh, small battery packs are easier on MSRP budgets than larger ones, which should help ease the sticker shock we’ve seen with other electric motorcycles. Time will tell, of course.

Source: Yamaha