On March 26, 2021, Japan’s Big Four—Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki—agreed to jointly develop swappable battery technology for future electric models. Under the deal, the brands would create batteries of the size, weight, durability, and safety. Settings those standards helped the Big Four decrease development time and production costs while serving the country’s customer base with compatible technology.
On the other hand, swappable batteries also require a sharing network to keep vehicles on the road. For that reason, establishing infrastructure with charging modules and battery stations is just as important to the consortium's goals. While Yamaha and Suzuki have revealed electric models with swappable batteries, Honda is clearly taking the lead on the initiative.
Team Red recently unveiled its new Mobile Power Pack (MPP) e and plans to implement the technology into commercial three-wheelers in India by the first half of 2022. Along with energy sharing features and potential household applications, Honda’s MPP is now setting the standard for its Big Four rivals. The MPP e design also improves on Honda’s first-generation MPP unit with a slimmer profile, higher cell mounting density, and greater heat dissipation.
Of course, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki can also bring their batteries to the table, but it needs to remain compatible with Honda’s MPP design. However, if one manufacturer creates a superior battery with a higher range, lower weight, or better performance, the others are expected to adopt the technology.
With Honda leading the charge at the moment, its batteries will be in the market before its fellow manufacturers. We can assume that Japanese riders will frequently swap between Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki batteries regardless of their vehicle make. In addition to Honda’s efforts in Asia, the brand is also a part of an intercontinental swappable battery consortium with Yamaha, KTM, and Piaggio. Only time will tell if Team Red sets the global standard, but it’s taking care of business at home for the time being.