In the middle of motorcycle launch season, we’re starting to see patents coming out of the woodwork as well, including this interesting set of drawings featuring a Yamaha hybrid scooter.
Over the years, OEMs have flirted with the idea of hybrid two-wheelers, mostly as a way of getting around the limited range of current battery technology. The idea is, a gasoline engine recharges the battery, sort of like a generator, and the battery then powers the electric motor.
Some designs have both the gas engine and electric motor capable of powering the rear wheel, but this Yamaha design only has the electric motor as physically part of the powertrain. The gas engine only provides electricity to the battery.
With this design, riders would be able to recharge their battery without being dependent on EV recharging stations. Theoretically, it would allow for longer riding range, and since the motor would likely run at a steady RPM, it would be very efficient.
However, the flip side is that the gasoline motor would also add more weight and complexity to the scooter, and probably drive up the price.
Whatever the case, Yamaha’s just tinkering with the idea for now; there’s no guarantee of production in the near or far-off future. All the OEMs are working on alternative ways to power their two-wheelers, and this is just one idea that’s come out. Yamaha’s also working on other EV plans (like this electric trials bike, or this electric scooter), which may be more productive than this patent.