Yamaha Goes Electric With Two New Scooters, May Feature Battery Swap Tech

After teasing the public with two cool concept electric scooters at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha has now confirmed the machines will go into production.

Called the E01 and E02, the two scoots will run on electrons only and feature two different performance envelopes. According to EV tracking site Electrek, the larger E01 will feature the hotter motor, putting out about 15 horsepower, which should be good for just over 50mph. That would put it in league with most 125cc gas-powered machines, and it seats two. The smaller E02 will top out at about 30mph, putting it in reach of riders with a basic driver’s license. Specific specifications for the scooters have not been announced as of yet. The Japanese company makes motorcycles of course, but Yamaha also makes ebikes, and was pioneer in developing electrified bicycles.

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A key feature in both machines will likely be battery swap capabilities. Yamaha teamed with Taiwan scooter and ebike maker Gogoro in 2018, and Gogoro has continued to build out a network of self-serve battery swap stations across Asia. The Gogoro scheme essentially negates range limitations, allowing scooter riders to very quickly pop in a freshly charged power cell (or two) they grab from a vending-style kiosk for a small fee. The swap concept is gaining traction in many Asian countries with high scooter usage, as it cuts down on pollution and is generally cheaper and easier to use than liquid fuels. Riders can also plug the scooters into a typical EV charger. Go to the :45 mark in this video to see the Gogoro swap system in action.

At this point, the new Yamaha escoots are not headed for the U.S. market, but never say never. BMW has confirmed that its upcoming electric scooter, the futuristic CE 04, will be coming to the U.S. in 2022. While the bigger BMW will be able to achieve freeway speeds up to 75mph, it will likely not have swappable battery tech, and scooters – let alone electric scooters – are still a small niche in the U.S. transportation market.

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With hundreds of millions of gas-powered scooters on the road worldwide, many of them older and spewing pollutants that are contributing to many cities’ unhealthy air, electric scooters are seeing growing demand in Europe and Asia both for economic and environmental reasons. With many countries building out renewable energy sources, electric scooters will be a major move away from petroleum use in many Asian and European cities, where scooters have been extremely popular forms of transportation for decades. It’s good to see BMW dip their toe in U.S. waters with the CE 04, here’s hoping Yamaha does as well – eventually – with the E01 and other models.

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