When Suzuki pulled out of MotoGP last year it said that changes were coming, and that it was going to prepare for the future. We are seeing some of that happening now, with reports that Suzuki is building and testing an electric Burgman prototype.
Details on the new battery ‘Burg are limited, but Autoby (a Japanese outlet—see Google Translate version of article here) says the machine is using the Honda Mobile Power Pack battery. If you’ve been paying attention for a while, you know that is the quick-swap battery Honda developed alone at first, then with the rest of the Japanese manufacturers, and now with Europe’s constantly-expanding Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (see our last write-up on that group here).
That small battery means this Burgman is a far cry from the maxi-scooter that has typified that line; think 50cc equivalent, certainly not a 650 sportmobile like the original Big Burg. Autoby reports the motor has 4 kW output, which works out to roughly 5 hp, and about 13 pound-feet of torque. Max range is reportedly about 60 kilometers. All very modest specs, but as this is just a prototype, we’d expect considerable improvement in the tech in the months to come. That is the whole point of testing programs, after all.
Suzuki is testing a fleet of eight e-Burgmans inside Tokyo city limits, where modest commuter bikes make sense, and where they have easy access to Gachaco quick-swap battery stations (note the Gachaco sticker on the image above, which Autoby got from Suzuki’s Japanese office). Will that fleet of eight machines turn into a mass-produced series? Suzuki is certainly talking a big game of changing its lineup drastically in the next decade, but it’s starting from wayyyyy behind other OEMs, particularly Honda, who already has battery bikes in production, and Kawasaki, who seems close behind.