Italian scooter maker Piaggio said this week it has set up a consortium with Honda, KTM, and Yamaha to encourage the use of swappable batteries for electric motorcycles and light electric vehicles. According to Reuters, the Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) is designed to broaden the use of light electric vehicles such as scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles, and support a more sustainable management of their batteries.
The consortium will focus on issues such as battery life, recharging times, infrastructure, and costs, and will work on defining international standard technical specifications for swappable batteries. All 4 companies say they welcome participation in the consortium by other manufacturers.
In a statement, Michele Colaninno, the head of strategy and product development for Piaggio, said, “Urban mobility is going through a delicate transition moment towards electrification. Thanks to this consortium motorbikes will keep their key role.” Yoshishige Nomura, Honda’s motorcycle operations chief, said the consortium’s objectives aimed to make electric motorbikes more convenient for clients, as their “use on a large scale can substantially contribute to the creation of a more sustainable society.”
Standards Are Key
This is really good news for people who depend on scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles to get around. Standards are critical to the mass adoption of new technology. The lack of them leads to silly things like the need to jack up railway cars at the border between Russia and China to exchange the underpinnings because the rails in each country are a different distance apart. It is why Japan has 50-cycle AC electricity in one part of the country and 60-cycle AC electricity in the other.
Lack of standards led to a protracted fight between BetaMax and VHS technology, as well as squabbles between BlueRay and CD manufacturers. Such disputes slow the adoption of new technologies, which is no big deal when it comes to entertainment, but is a big deal when the issue is converting the world to electric vehicles to keep the Earth from overheating.
Automobile and truck manufacturers would do well to push for such standards when it comes to the design of charging equipment for electric vehicles. At present in the US, there are three protocols — CCS, CHAdeMO, and Tesla — and none works with the others. The situation is as ridiculous as having every oil company design a unique nozzle for its gas pumps, one that only its customers can use. It would be a big step forward for the EV revolution if every electric vehicle could use a common charging design. Perhaps the Swappable Battery Consortium will convince the car companies they should cooperate to improve market penetration for their battery electric vehicles.
[Note: Rivian intends to build its own proprietary charging network similar to Telsa’s Supercharger system. Only Rivian drivers will be able to use it. That may be the dumbest idea since Napoleon decided to invade Russia. Is there anyone at Rivian who has a clue about what is needed to make people comfortable purchasing one of their products?]
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
EV Obsession Daily!
Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.