The EV revolution is, perhaps, the slowest-going technological revolution ever. Gearheads want to know what the future looks like, but companies are slow to tell us what they’re doing. Yamaha’s starting to show its hand, though. The Japanese manufacturer is teasing a new line of high-performance electric motors, available for consumers to use in building their own vehicles.
We don’t get a lot of specs or other details in the video above, just some words from Yamaha engineer Takashi Hara. It’s interesting to note that he says Yamaha’s electric motor development actually started with its motorcycle division, and that Yamaha continues to work on that technology. Despite the announcements around this new motor, Yamaha hasn’t actually shown any of its own vehicles built around the technology. Turns out Team Blue is indeed working on battery bikes, but unlike Kawasaki, it isn’t hyping them.
We got our first look at the new electric motor series in February, 2020. When it announced the motor, Yamaha said it would provide “high power density for automobiles and other types of vehicles.” The motor would be available in various configurations, with output from 35 kW to 200 kW (47 horsepower to 268 horsepower).
The idea is, a customer (another vehicle manufacturer) comes to Yamaha, outlines its needs, and Yamaha takes its motor design and optimizes it for the application. Supposedly, this will avoid the lengthy development times that plague current EV design, since Yamaha’s design allows it to “deliver in short time spans utilizing production technology that the company flexibly adapts to its various product groups, including motorcycles.”
Wait, did we get that right? It sounds like Yamaha’s working on electric motors that anyone else can buy, and use to power a motorcycle design. It’s an interesting idea, and it might show the manufacturers are waking up, realizing they’ll need to work together to stay ahead of emissions regulations. Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki have already announced collaboration on electric scooter designs. Maybe Yamaha’s new motor line is another sign the OEMs are willing to collaborate, without hoarding their EV tech in-house.