The race for the electric motorcycle podium keeps on getting hotter with Yamaha throwing its weight behind a light electric motorcycle concept. We’ll have to wait for the Tokyo Auto Show before we know everything, but in the meantime…
2013, The Year of the Electric Motorcycle
If 2013 was the year of the electric motorcycle, notably with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning Motorcycles, clinching first motorcycle overall at the venerable Pikes Peak and our interview here. (We were there, see our Pikes Peak articles, this one where we interview Greg Tracy who switched over to four wheels and electric with Mitsubishi.)
What will 2o14 be for the electric motorcycle? So far, if history is any indication, electric motorcycles will continue to progress at the steady pace they have, evolving every few years to make stronger contenders. However, when it comes to mainstream motorcycle makers, electricity is not much of a blip on their radar map, save for Honda and their famous electric Mugen.
Electric Motorcycles Galore
The choices in electric motorcycles are getting bigger and better incrementally each year. Zero Motorcycle‘s new 2014 motorcycle innovates as much as the 2013 unveiling I was fortunate to assist with in Long Beach, CA last year. This was the time we filmed a real Long Beach motorcycle police officer test riding the electric Zero that wearing a police outfit. His reaction was priceless, saying he’d rather do full days on this bike, which can handle the range, than his loud BMW and he could also sneak up on suspicious activities.
Yamaha Steps Into The Electric Avenue
The one we are interested in is the PES1 concept, a 200-pound road bike. Its battery pack is housed in the middle section and also, interestingly, cases a brushless DC motor. With the flip of a switch, the PES1 can go from manual to automatic, a perfect feature many will find great when hitting bumper to bumper traffic.
Yamaha knows it isn’t the first one with an electric motorcycle and the hidden competition is Honda who has been testing their electric Mugen. Although only a concept, it shows Yamaha is interested in tackling the most obvious territory where an entry level electric motorcycle makes the most sense: the city commute. Unless you live near a desert, then the off road version of the PES1, the PED1 uses the same internals.
If Yamaha is known for its gasoline motorcycle, it is also well known for its scooters and derivatives. If you have your heart set more on a city scooter, then the EVINO is the perfect fit for you. So far all we know is the EVINO sports a lithium-ion battery that powers the electric version of the maker’s Vino.
Now seriously, did you really expect Yamaha to come out with a price when what it needs to do first is to gauge the public’s interest? Although no word yet on where the PED/S and EVINO will be sold, we will keep you up to date.
Besides another alluring attempt from local competition Suzuki with its Extrigger, also electric, it seems as if electric motorcycles are on everyone’s minds these days.
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