It’s hard to keep a secret in the Information Age, and motorcycle manufacturers are certainly affected as much as anyone else. In days gone by, an OEM could keep a plan under wraps right until the last minute, whipping the sheet off a concept bike at EICMA and wowing a shocked crowd (“Dual brake discs! Amazing!”).
Now, there are rules, rules, rules around everything, and that means you’ve got to submit regulatory paperwork and publish patent information online as well. And that means clever web-crawlers are able to get their hands on this info, which is why we now see patent drawings of a new Suzuki EV published on Cycle World.
The drawings show what appears to be an electric powertrain stuffed into the bodywork of a Suzuki Burgman 125. Obviously, the chassis is also changed up, to handle the new electric motor and batteries. Note that these are built into the main section of the scooter’s chassis, not perched on the swingarm, as is standard with most scooter designs.
As Cycle World’s story points out, this means the scooter must run a motorcycle-style chain-and-sprocket final drive, and it also cuts down on the amount of space under the seat; this won’t be quite as handy a grocery-getter as you might expect from a large scooter.
Also, the Suzuki scooter doesn’t come with removable batteries. Suzuki is part of a consortium among Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, working on quick-swap battery technology for motorcycles. However, while Honda’s already released a first-gen and second-gen scooter with this design, Suzuki’s electric scoot seen here does not come with it, meaning riders must wait for the batteries to recharge when depleted, instead of just quickly trading them for fresh units.
Suzuki’s been surrounded by controversy lately, announcing a plan to shut down its MotoGP team while also announcing a massive new auto plant in India, with a smaller motorcycle manufacturing facility close by. The company is doing its best to weather massive global changes; it remains to be seen whether this electric scooter will be part of the way forward for the company, or just one more patent leak that ultimately leads nowhere.