Believe it or not, the Big 4 motorcycle makers in Japan are apparently working together on a new electric motorcycle standard.

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki are the four major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.

None of the companies have a true production electric motorcycle yet.

To its credit, Honda recently showed off an electric CR250 dirt bike concept at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show.

Yamaha has some very nice electric bicycles and is making progress on electric trials bikes.

Suzuki and Kawasaki… well they don’t have much of anything to show for electric motorcycles.

But that could soon be changing. The Big 4 are reportedly working together to form a consultative body to discuss details about a unified standard for electric motorcycles.

The goal for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki is to prevent many different standards from being established for charging stations and other infrastructure that could hamper adoption of electric motorcycles, as reported in The Japan News.

The four motorcycle manufacturers aren’t showing off any hardware or distinct plans yet. But they are reportedly working on standards concerning batteries and charging equipment, according to EMN.

honda electric dirt bike

Honda’s electric CR250 concept dirt bike

Many different electric motorcycle charging options

Charging has been a major point of progress lately in the electric motorcycle industry. For years, Zero’s electric motorcycles have held the top spot in the industry, but only offered Level 1 (110V wall outlet) charging natively. An upgraded accessory was required to allow for Level 2 charging. Zero’s new SR/F electric motorcycle recently added higher power Level 2 charging as an option, but still lacks Level 3 DC fast charging.

Last week Lightning unveiled their new Strike electric motorcycle, which emphasized faster charging. The $12,998 base model offers Level 1 and 2 charging as standard. The higher end model includes Level 3 DC fast charging which takes just 35 minutes, and can be installed as an option on the base model.

lightning strike carbon edition

Lightning Strike electric sport bike unveiled last week

Harley-Davidson’s new LiveWire electric motorcycle has also helped push the industry towards faster charging. The LiveWire is also capable of Level 3 DC fast charging, though its Level 2 charging is limited to Level 1 levels. Harley-Davidson dealers are already installing Level 3 chargers and EV parking spots at their dealerships.

Electric scooter companies such as Gogoro have taken a different approach to charging. They offer removable batteries that can be charged either at home or in dedicated battery swap stations.

The variation in charging options in the electric motorcycle industry is exactly what Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki are apparently trying to avoid.

Electrek’s Take

To be honest I thought this was a late April Fool’s joke when I first heard about it.

I understand what the Big 4 are reportedly trying to do, but I’m not sure why. Most electric motorcycles in the US are simply adopting the same CCS standards used by electric vehicles. Whether they support Level 3 charging seems to be the big differentiator, but that’s often just a matter of whether the batteries can handle it and whether the company wants to design for it.

I’d rather see the Big 4 working together on batteries, motors, or something else that will actually help them get bikes on the road sooner. Charging isn’t the battle right now – production is.

Give us some electric motorcycles, guys! Arigatou!


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