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HONDA AND YAMAHA CONNECT ON E-BIKES

A previously announced partnership between arch-rivals Honda and Yamaha, to encourage the use of small e-scooters, was finally launched on 21 July in the Japanese city of Saitama.

In conjunction with the Saitama municipal authorities, this unusual joint-venture initiative will evaluate ways of developing and promoting practical ways of persuading Japan’s myriad Class-1 moped category riders to go electric. The two motorcycle manufacturers compete fiercely to dominate their huge domestic Class-1 market, which covers 50cc petrol engines or 0.6kW electric motors. But motivation for getting into bed together has come from political pressure to take it in a completely carbon-free environmental direction.

The partnership’s chosen route to greater zero-emissions accessibility is through battery-swapping to eliminate range restrictions. To this end, Yamaha has provided a fleet of suitable E-Vino scooters while Saitama officials installed a bike rental and battery-exchange facility at the city’s central bicycle park. Rental bookings are processed online. As the evaluation proceeds, a much larger scooter-sharing service is under consideration.

Pictured at the evaluation launch (from left): Yamaha managing executive director Katsuaki Watanabe, Saitama mayor Hayato Shimizu and Honda chief operating officer for motorcycles Noriaki Abe.
 

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