Last November, we told you about a couple of electric bike concepts Yamaha was showing off at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now, the company says those bikes will make it into production.
The comments came in Yamaha’s 2013 annual report. The document says the company is “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 other words, we should see Yamaha’s battery bikes by 2016, providing this doesn’t turn into an ongoing vaporware campaign, like the R25 sportbike that was also unveiled in concept form at Tokyo.
You can check out this link for our original peek at the Yamaha electric bikes, but here are the details in concise form: Yamaha has a street bike (PES1) and dirt bike (PED1) based around an electric powerplant with quick-swap battery. In their original concept form, both bikes had standard gearboxes (like Brammo’s high-end battery bikes), but could also function as automatics. The concepts are undergoing testing by Yamaha’s designers and engineers right now, though, and whether the standard gearbox and other features may be added or subtracted during that process.
One feature that Yamaha traded on very heavily in their initial chatter about the bikes was their light weight; both were supposed to come in around 100 kg. That’s a feature that will certainly attract some interest, although if it comes at the expense of range, or MSRP affordability, Yamaha may be forced to make some changes.
If everything continues as planned and this machine does come to market in the next couple years, it could spark some interesting competition between the Big Four. Many onlookers had assumed Honda would be the first of the Japanese manufacturers to bring an electric motorcycle to market, because of their tie-in with the Mugen Shingen electric race machine (as raced by John McGuinness at the Isle of Man). However, it seems Yamaha may beat them to the punch yet.