Yamaha Europe "Switches On" Plans for Electric Mobility - Motorcycle.com

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Yamaha Europe “Switches On” Plans for Electric Mobility

Details for electric NEO's to come in the weeks ahead

  • Yamaha Motor Europe outlined its plans for electric two-wheelers, revealing a range of scooters, bicycles and a moped. The announcement confirmed our report last week that it would include an electric scooter called the “NEO’s”, but the 50cc-equivalent model was only scratching the surface.

    The presentation provided a general outline of Yamaha’s approach to electrification, though it did leave us wanting more. While electric motorcycle brands like Zero and Energica offer a range of models and Harley-Davidson‘s LiveWire spin-off is preparing to offer its second model in a few months, Yamaha is much more conservative about electrification.

    Of the models mentioned, the NEO’s is the only one that go into production this year. The NEO’s name (pronounced “Nay-OSS”) has been around since 1997 as a 50cc gas-fueled scooter, and it will continue to exist as an electric model, offering a similar level of performance. As we reported, the new NEO’s will be based on the E02 concept shown at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.

    The 50cc scooter class used to be more popular in Europe, but as Paolo Pavesio, marketing and motorsport director for Yamaha Motor Europe, explains, tougher emissions controls and the prevalence of more powerful 125cc scooters has eaten away at the class. There’s still a place for vehicles of this level of performance, however, and Yamaha sees it as a a logical target for electrification. Yamaha will release further details about the NEO’s in the weeks ahead, but it did confirm the NEO’s will use removable batteries.

    The second electric scooter, a 125cc-equivalent model, will be a much longer time coming. Based on the E01 concept also shown in 2019, the as-yet-unnamed model (“E-Max” seems the obvious choice, but Yamaha’s branding seems to focus on incorporating a stylized “O” somewhere, so we’ll stick with the concept name for now) will be introduced in a European city as a vehicle-sharing fleet model. Yamaha will use the vehicle sharing as a proof of concept, and to gather data for a consumer launch in two to three years.

    Yamaha also presented three ebike prototypes, a mountain bike, a touring bike and an urban model, all powered by Yamaha’s electric drive units. Specifications for the three bicycles will be released in the summer, with a target launch of late 2022.

    The presentation concluded with a moped model called the B01. The B01 was designed in collaboration with Fantic Motors, and very closely resembles its Issimo Fun. The Issimo Fun is equipped with a 250 watt motor producing a claimed 59 lb-ft. of torque, with power supplied by a 630Wh 36 volt lithium-ion battery.

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    Dennis Chung
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