Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
Yamaha has been playing the electric bike game for well over 15 years now and while we’re still waiting to see a proper e-motorcycle to rival the likes of Zero it’s just launched a battery-swappable scooter on the Taiwanese market.
If the new EC-05 looks at all familiar, it’s because all the mechanical bits – the electrics, the wheels, suspension, motor and brakes – come from Gogoro’s Smartscooter. It’s part of a collaboration between the firms, and importantly it means the EC-05 will be able to use Gogoro’s existing network of 1251 ‘GoStation’ battery-swap facilities around Taiwan.
The GoStations are the key to eliminating the main concern that prevents a lot of people from going electric: charging. On most electric bikes charging is a slow process and if you park on the street there’s little chance to plug in. With two swappable batteries, the Gogoro/Yamaha EC-05 can be replenished in as little as 6 seconds by simply sliding out the spent batteries and replacing them – for a fee – with charged ones that are waiting at a GoStation. Suddenly, refuelling is actually quicker, cleaner and easier than it would be on a conventional petrol-powered scooter.
Of course, Honda has the same idea with its PCX Electric.
Performance-wise, the Yamaha should match the Gogoro, with around 10hp on tap, a 60mph top speed and a range of up to around 90 miles.
Yamaha’s electric scooter history goes back to 2002, when it launched the Passol. Since then, the EC-02, EC-03 and E-Vino have represented the firm in the electric bike market, but at the moment the EC-05 is limited to the Taiwanese market where it can take advantage of the GoStation network.
In Taiwan, the bike’s price is equivalent to around £2500, but there’s no word on whether it will ever come to the European market.