Yamaha Motor Research & Development India (YMRI), in conjunction with Yamaha Motor Corporation (YMC), Japan has commenced development of an all-new electric vehicle platform for India and other markets around the world, confirmed Yasuo Ishihara, Managing Director, YMRI.
About 100 engineers from Yamaha’s teams located in Japan, India and also other countries are contributing to the this project. Importantly, Yamaha’s global R&D teams are also understood to have identified approximately a dozen global component suppliers who will contribute to the platform’s development.
Only a few months ago, YMRI had confirmed conducting a feasibility study to learn about consumer requirements, usage pattern and also Indian climatic conditions critical to developing electric two-wheelers for the local market.
Speaking to our sister publication Autocar Professional on the sidelines of the 58th SIAM annual convention in New Delhi recently, Ishihara said, “The development of an all-new electric vehicle platform is underway. We always want to start a new product based on a global platform. It (the electric two-wheeler) won’t be only for the Indian market. It will be for the other global markets, too. Such a global (product) platform strategy we have (for the electric two-wheelers under development).”
He further added, “We are setting up alliances with some key suppliers (for EVs). That will hopefully fetch some good results for Yamaha’s India business of electric vehicles in the future. I won’t be able to share more details on this subject.”
Yamaha has experience in both, manufacturing and retailing electric vehicles in countries such as Japan, Taiwan and others. The company has recently forayed into the power-assist electric bicycle category and it currently retails them in several global markets including, prominently, the USA.
Ishihara, who has been to Taiwan to study the electric two-wheeler ecosystem, disclosed that Yamaha is considering the battery-swapping model as one of the potential solutions for the EV charging infrastructure.
“Yes, we are considering the battery-swapping model as one of the energy options. When the customer wants to charge his EV with a swappable battery, he would take a similar amount of time as he currently takes while filling in the gas at the fuel pumps,” he said.
Interestingly, Yamaha appears to be working on a product plan similar to that of Suzuki Motorcycle India’s, which is planning to launch its first-gen electric scooter by 2020-21. The first of Yamaha’s indigenously developed electric products will follow close on its heels, by 2021-22, in the local market.
Commenting on this aspect, Ishihara noted, “Our global headquarters follow a policy to not announce any forward looking plans. However, without disclosing any details, all I can say is that it won’t be much different (from Suzuki’s plans).”
Whether Yamaha will use this platform to built motorcycles or scooters remains to be seen, although it is understood that most major two-wheeler OEMs will be keen on penetrating the electric vehicle space once the BS-VI emission norms come into effect, in 2020.
It may help to factor in that Yamaha Motor Research & Development India (YMRI), which is a 100 percent subsidiary of YMC, has deployed its widely known INDRA concept for engineering products suitable for the Indian conditions. The India-bound EVs are understood to be part of the same. YMRI plays a pivotal role of providing strong R&D support to India Yamaha Motor for its domestic as well as export markets and is the fifth overseas R&D headquarters for YMC following Italy, Taiwan, China and Thailand.
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