Yamaha have just announced they’re having a big ‘switch on’, and that in the next year or so, we can look forward to some new, and interesting models.
Yamaha are not unfamiliar with electric motors, they’ve been dabbling with them for more than 30 years. As well as electric golf buggies, electric out-board motors and things of that ilk, they’ve produced about 7 million electric drive units for e-bikes. No, that’s not a typo, 7 million. If you’re to look at the drive motors on many of the top-of-the-range e-bikes, there’s a good chance you’d see the word Yamaha, or at least a set of tuning forks printed on there somewhere.
As part of the big switch on, Yamaha are launching three new e-bikes of their own, which should be available before the end of the year.
But that’s not all. Yamaha are about to launch (or switch on) the all new NEO’s. It’s an electric scooter, roughly equivalent to a 50cc moped. We don’t have many details about it just yet, but we expect to have some soon.
You’d have to say though, that it’s likely to be amongst the best ‘electric mopeds’ about. Not many of the other companies producing similar offerings have got as much experience in producing either electric motors, or motorcycles; and there certainly aren’t any that have as much experience in both. I know an electric moped isn’t going to put hairs on anyone’s chest, but if you live and work in a city and you need something for commuting (and you’ve got somewhere to store and charge one, obviously), it probably makes as much sense as anything else.
There’s also going to be a ‘125cc equivalent’ scooter, that they haven’t actually named yet. What ever they decide to call Scooty McScooterface though, there are talks of having scooter sharing system in a ‘major European city’, presumably like the Boris bikes thing. But when that will happen exactly, wasn’t stated.
The B01 is a new hybrid prototype Yamaha have created with Fantic Motor and Moroti Minarelli. It’s, essentially, an e-bike, but with moped performance. A motorbike that you can pedal. An actual ‘moped’. But it’s electric. Like a modern day FS1-E. An FS1-E…lectric. I wonder if they’ll sell as many B01s as they did Fizzys. I’d be surprised; 200,000 were sold in the UK alone.
Having said that, the e-scooter market has almost doubled in the last two years, and e-bikes are selling like hot-cakes. Maybe an electric Fizzy is exactly what the world needs.
Eric de Seynes, Yamaha Motor Europe’s President & CEO, said, regarding the announcement,
“The concept of mobility has continuously evolved over the years, and consequently our cities and infrastructures have adapted to these changes. However, one thing that has remained the same over the decades is the universal desire and need for personal mobility that gives a real sense of freedom. Yamaha is excited to expand its personal mobility range and open a whole new chapter in the history of the company. Backed up by Yamaha’s world-class engineering capabilities and supported by a professional dealer network, the introduction of these new electric products and related services will inspire a new generation of customers.”
We’re still waiting for the day that electric motorcycles offer a genuine like for like alternative for big, fast internal combustion motorcycles. I think it will be a while before we’re there. As far as mopeds and scooters go though, if we’re not there already, we’re getting very close.