Hybrid powertrains have been around for decades now, particularly in the automotive industry. Two-wheelers, particularly lightweight scooters specific to the Asian market, have begun dabbling into hybridization, too. Nonetheless, hybrids have yet to make a substantial impact in the motorcycle and scooter markets, as the rapid growth of electric motorcycles seems to be more interesting to manufacturers.
Yamaha, however, seems keen on developing hybrid tech for its two-wheelers, as evidenced by the likes of the Fascino hybrid scooter available in India. Furthermore, recent patent filings suggest that Team Blue is working on a hybrid setup for one of its most popular maxi-scooters, the TMAX. The new parents have surfaced online, and depict two approaches when it comes to the scooter’s hybrid powertrain.
The first approach involves the direct connection between the crank of the internal combustion engine and the electric motor. This means that the electric motor will be supplementing power to the engine, while using the standard CVT to turn the back wheel. This could potentially result in a setup that’s cheaper to produce, as well as one that’s more compact, thereby occupying less space.
The second approach, meanwhile, depicts the electric motor as part of the transmission. Mounted on the swingarm, the electric motor connects to the scooter’s transmission, meaning the stock internal combustion engine remains untouched. This does, however, mean that the transmission, as well as parts of the chassis, would have to be beefed up to accommodate more mass.
Regardless of the approach, a hybrid version of the TMAX will definitely need uprated batteries. To do this, it seems that Yamaha will be turning to the maxi-scooter’s already ample under-seat storage compartment to house the batteries to power the hybrid system. At the end of the day, it all boils down as to whether or not the practicality trade off, in terms of storage space, that is, is worth the increased engine and fuel efficiency. Should Yamaha’s hybrid setup become more widely adopted, it isn’t far-fetched that more of Yamaha’s two-wheelers could take on a similar approach.