On 5 October at a press conference held at a Tokyo hotel, Honda and Yamaha made announcements regarding talks between the two companies about joint endeavors into a Japanese sub-50cc bikes (motorcycle), including an electric bike that would work towards lowering emissions.
Honda operating officer Shinji Aoyama had this to say about the joint venture: â€œThereâ€™s potential here to develop very rider-friendly bikes here. Electric motorization is an important issue we will have to tackle in how our vehicles evolve from here. Both we and our colleagues at Yamaha believe the same, and it is with that in mind that we will be working together to take motorcycles to the next step.â€
This potential collaboration was brought to Honda by Yamaha. The backbone of the announcement, 50cc scooters and business bikes, will be provided OEM to Yamaha (to be supplied under another brand name), will be designed to meet strict environmental standards. The companies realize that beyond development of gas powered bikes, that current climate calls for them to also start thinking about complete electronic motorisation of their bikes.
Section chief of MC department at Yamaha, Katsuaki Watabe, explained that â€œwe will create groups of engineers and have them talk over what aspects of design, etc. we can collaborate on. This announcement is to state that we have reached that stage where our engineers are ready to begin discussing these topics. It doesnâ€™t mean weâ€™ve come up with concrete plans for an electric-powered bike or the infrastructure weâ€™ll be using or anything like that yet. As our discussions progress, weâ€™ll hopefully have more to announce in the future.â€
Both companies agreed that the 4 main issues theyâ€™d be dealing with are â€œcruising distance, charge time, functionality, and electronic motorization costs. We will start by discussing creation of a platform for these.â€ However, what both companies are hoping to achieve with this is standardising a infrastructure centred around electric bikes, a point Watabe emphasized. â€œWe hope to share the achievements we make through this endeavor not only between our two companies, but the industry as a whole, and work to popularize this kind of infrastructure.â€
Otherwise, the announcement also dealt with insistence toward Japanese domestic manufactures about Honda and Yamahaâ€™s desire for others to also start pursuing their visions of the electronic motorization of the industry.
[Translated by Bryce Clarke]