Thursday, July 7, 2022

Yamaha Electric Scooter Prototype Getting Ready – Production Likely At TN Plant

Yamaha electric scooter could be launched at a competitive price point, as majority of parts will be sourced from local vendors

Yamaha E01 Electric Scooter
Yamaha E01 Electric Scooter

With electric two-wheeler segment registering strong growth, ICE experts like Yamaha are stepping up focus in this space. The company’s chairman Eishnin Chihana has said that they are in the process of developing an electric scooter for Indian market.

Currently, Yamaha India’s R&D team at Chennai has started making the prototype electric scooter. It is likely to enter production at the company plant in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. Yamaha expects about 30% of their buyers to opt for EV in 3-5 years.

Based on Neo’s

Earlier this year in April, Yamaha showcased two of its electric scooters to its dealers. One was E01, which has already been trademarked in India. The other scooter was Neo’s, which is available in select international markets. Neo’s was originally launched as a 50cc ICE scooter. Its electric version came later.

Earlier, it was felt that E01 has a higher chance of being launched in India. The E01 concept maxi-styled scooter was first unveiled at 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. In terms of performance, it is comparable to a 125cc petrol scooter. It has three ride modes and range is expected to be approximately 70-80 km.

Yamaha Electric Scooters Showcased To Dealers In India
Yamaha Electric Scooters Showcased To Dealers In India. Image – Nikam Yamaha

However, Yamaha seems to be more inclined towards using Neo’s for developing its first electric scooter for India. It could be tweaked to suit Indian conditions, for example, more power and higher range. In European markets, Neo’s electric scooter has a range of 37 km. Range can be increased with the use of a dual battery pack.

While 37 km range seems quite low, Yamaha has kept it that way intentionally. The range is based on a survey that revealed average per day travel distance to be around 25-35 km. However, the survey doesn’t account for the fact that at this low range, users will have to charge their scooters every day. Interestingly, the India-spec Yamaha electric scooter could also be exported to Europe.

Yamaha is still to finalize the range of its electric scooter for India. It may take some time to achieve a balance between performance and range. Chihana has stated that it will be difficult to achieve a real world range of 100 km with existing battery management technologies. This is especially true for performance-oriented electric scooters with speeds of around 45 to 60 kmph.

Local sourcing

As of now, a significant percentage of EV manufacturers rely on imported components for their electric vehicles. This can create dependencies that may have adverse impact on production in case of unforeseen events like pandemic, war, etc. Using imported components also makes it difficult to keep a tab on quality. It limits the scope for design and performance improvements and to make the EV available at a competitive price point.

In view of these challenges, Yamaha has decided to source much of the components for its electric scooter from local vendors. The company will also work to ensure that the motor and battery pack can endure the extreme climate conditions in India. Yamaha has stated that it will be focusing on quality. Yamaha’s first electric scooter for India will be a joint collaboration project involving Yamaha India and Yamaha Japan.

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