Honda Motor said on Monday it had signed a letter of intent with KTM, Piaggio and Yamaha Motor to set up a 'swappable' batteries consortium for motorcycles and light electric vehicles.

In the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and the transition to electromobility, the founding members of the consortium believe the availability of a standardised swappable battery system would both promote the widespread use of light electric vehicles and contribute to more sustainable life cycle management of batteries used for transport. 

"Also, by extending the range, shortening the charging time and lowering vehicle and infrastructure costs, the manufacturers will try to answer customers' main concerns regarding the future of electromobility," the automaker said in a statement.  

"The aim of the consortium will, therefore, be to define the standardised technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category; mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles.

"By working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardisation bodies, the founding members of the consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards."

The consortium will start activities in May 2021.

Noriaki Abe, managing officer, motorcycle operations, at Honda Motor, said: "The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe.

"For the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles, problems such as travel distance and charging times need to be addressed, and swappable batteries are a promising solution. Considering customer convenience, standardisation of swappable batteries and wide adoption of battery systems is vital, which is why the four member manufacturers agreed to form the consortium. 

"Honda views improving the customers' usage environment as an area to explore cooperation with other manufacturers, while bringing better products and services to customers through competition.

"Honda will work hard on both fronts to be the 'chosen' manufacturer for customer mobility."