Japanese Motorcycles Are Joining the EV Revolution

Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha are joining forces to build the future of motorcycle ownership in Japan. Will their new idea spread to the US?
Written by Andrew Koole
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The EV race isn’t just for four-wheeled driving machines.
Motorcycle
brands from all over have already started their transitions to electric powertrains. But one country with a strong reputation in the two-wheeled world has been reluctant to make the switch—until now.
Japan’s list of motorcycle brands is extensive and impressive. The Pacific nation’s big four manufacturers—Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha—dominate the speed bike market. 
But as other companies like BMW and
Harley Davidson
roll out their electric models, news from their Japanese rivals has been rather slow.
To stay in the game, all four brands are teaming up to start a new company called Gachaco that’s focused on producing batteries for their future bikes.
Jerry
, your car insurance
super app
, took a closer look at this EV collab.

Japan’s Big Four bet on swappable batteries to supercharge their EV efforts

It might seem odd for four rival brands to come together like this, but the partnership between Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha is a smarter move than it looks. 
Rather than a desperate attempt to stay relevant, the alliance actually tackles a growing criticism within the EV industry—the increasingly unsustainable and insulated development of
EV batteries
Many of the automakers playing catch-up with Tesla are attempting to replicate that company’s self-contained business model. While it might look like good business sense, it makes for a much more constrained ownership experience and more discarded batteries down the line.
With Gachaco, the Big Four are taking a different approach.
Ride Apart
says all four brands will use the same battery standards, allowing riders to rely on the same parts and charging network. 
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Gachaco’s batteries will be a service

Lithium-ion batteries
are well known to be the most valuable part of any electric vehicle, and motorcycles are no exception. But the size of the power sources for these two-wheeled machines make their batteries an easy target for theft. 
Making them removable was the industry’s first step to mitigating this problem, but Gachaco plans to take it one step further by offering them as a service rather than an ownable product.
In a promo video, Gachaco showed how this “battery-as-a-service” (BaaS) idea works. Basically, riders own their
electric motorcycles
, while batteries are swapped out at designated charging stations, eliminating the hassle of waiting to juice up. 
The BaaS system will make riding more seamless and better for the environment, as the batteries will be shared between riders rather than being owned individually.

Will the Gachaco model reach the US?

Right now, the Big Four have no plans to expand their swappable battery service beyond the islands of Japan. But if it rolls out successfully, there’s no telling how far they’ll take it.
For now though, US riders will have to rely on charging at home, at dealerships, and at Level 2
charging stations
like other EVs. This ownership model will keep electric motorbike prices high, since it’s the battery that makes them so expensive in the first place.

Is it expensive to insure a motorcycle?

Average motorcycle insurance is about half the average for
car insurance
, but the higher sticker prices for electric models will likely make coverage more expensive. To find the best deals, you best off shopping for quotes with Jerry.
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