Yamaha Motor Europe is teasing a new product launch for March 3. While the teasers don’t provide very many clues, we believe the announcement will be for an electric scooter called the Neo’s. And it may not be limited to just one.
The big clues are the phrase “Switch On” with a stylized “O”, and mention of “a new era” starting. The “O” is designed to resemble the I/O symbol commonly used on power switches.
The “O” also matches part of a trademark application Yamaha filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last September. The application was for a stylized “Neo’s” mark specifically for use with “electric two-wheeled vehicles, scooters and their parts and fittings.”
The “Neo’s” name (with the apostrophe) might not be familiar in the U.S., but it has been in use in Europe for a few years now in the Neo’s 4, a 50cc scooter. The new trademark appears to transpose the apostrophe onto the “O” to create the on/off symbol. Reusing the Neo’s name may give us an indication of what kind of performance to expect, something akin to a 50cc internal combustion engine scooter.
As for the what the new electric Neo’s will look like, we do have a bit of an idea, thanks to a pair of electric scooter concepts Yamaha showed back in 2019. The two concepts were the E01, a scooter with a step-over design with 125cc performance, and the E02, a step-through design with 50cc-level power. Late last year, Yamaha reportedly confirmed plans to put both scooters into production for 2022.
The E02 concept most closely resembles the Neo’s 4. It was equipped with an air-cooled DC direct drive motor powered by a removable lithium-ion battery. A lot can change since the E02 concept debuted in 2019, especially when it comes to electric vehicles, but it’s possible the Neo’s will use swappable batteries. A year ago this week, Yamaha signed on with KTM, Honda, and Piaggio to form a consortium for developing swappable battery technology for electric two-wheelers.
The E01 concept was powered by an air-cooled DC brushless motor, but it used a fixed lithium-ion battery and instead of direct drive, it used either a belt or a chain. Traditionally, Yamaha gives maxi-scooters like this a name with the word “MAX” in it, like the TMax, XMax, and NMax. For the E01, “EMAX” may be a more obvious name.
It’s not clear if the March 3 announcement will include just one or both of these electric scooters. The E02 looks more like the Neo’s 4, so it’s the likelier of the two to debut, but we can’t entirely rule out both bikes falling under the Neo’s brand. After all, it doesn’t take much for “E0” to turn into “NEO’S”. We’ll know for certain by Thursday.
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