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Yamaha's first electric bikes set for release "in the near future"

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May 15, 2014

Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show

Yamaha's PED1 and PES1 at the Tokyo Motor Show

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When Yamaha Motor published its annual report for the year 2013 last month, motorcycle blogs the world over picked up on a single line which read: "In sports motorcycles, we are working to create new value with EV sports motorcycles, which we aim to launch in two years, with the development of the small, on-road sports PES1, as well as the PED1, which are being developed to expand the scope of electric vehicles to the off-road world." A few days later, the on-line report was changed, replacing the words "in two years" with "in the near future."

Sportingly, the company alerted shareholders to these changes with the note, "there has been a change in the time frame with regard to the launch of EV sports motorcycles" and in so doing, gave notice that electric motorcycling is about to go mainstream.

Yamaha's PES1 electric motorcycle concept

The bikes shown by Yamaha at the Tokyo Motor Show last November are very different, but they're built to a nifty modular design – the electric motor, battery and central frame segment are common to both bikes. Everything else just bolts on, from the subframe and different shock layouts, to the seat unit and rear controls, all the way up to the swingarm, the "tank" unit, the bellypan and the entire front end, which bolts on behind the headstem to give each bike different steering geometries.

Yamaha's PED1 electric motorcycle concept

The PES1 is belt driven, while the PED1 has a chain, and it's unclear from the prototypes whether they're geared. Either way, they're chalk and cheese, the PES1 being a future-funky naked roadster and the PED1 being a small motocrosser. Both are feather-light, with the sports bike clocking in at just 100 kg (220 lb) and the dirt squirter being just 85 kg (187 lb).

Neither looks like it's going to set the world on fire in their first iterations – the PES1 would only just appear to be capable of 100 km/h (62 mph), if the promo video below is anything to go by. So we're looking at electric bikes that are likely to be somewhere around the performance characteristics of what Zero was doing three or four years ago.

Still, looking at the meteoric development curve the Zero bikes have undergone in a few short years, and factoring in the gigantic resources of one of the biggest motorcycle manufacturers in the world, you'd have to assume Yamaha will be on the ball very quickly. Exciting times!

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain
5 Comments

Still thinks they should add a can-of-change 'rattling' to emulate a Ducati Hypermotard so they don't sneak up on you!

Jeffrey A. Edwards
16th May, 2014 @ 08:33 am PDT

Not sure if Jeffrey is indicating that sound being a good or bad thing. I love dry clutches though so If I ever go electric I might steal his can-of-change idea.

Matt Sanders
16th May, 2014 @ 10:47 am PDT

Is this going to be another Yamaha GL 750?

Michael Hissom
16th May, 2014 @ 01:39 pm PDT

@Jeffrey Domino's added Safe Sound to their scooters in the Netherlands to help with that: www.youtube.com/watch?v=n17B_uFF4cA

The result was great :)

Daishi
16th May, 2014 @ 06:42 pm PDT

Riding a silent dirt bike in the bush would be awesome, plus you could hear any 4x4s coming the other way

Ozuzi
20th May, 2014 @ 03:31 pm PDT
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