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Suzuki promises electric bike in 2024

Has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including most of the world’s biggest bike titles, as well as dabbling in car and technology journalism.



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Electric version of Suzuki’s Burgman Street 125 scooter, as seen in this patent, is already expected to be launched in 2024


Suzuki is the latest and last of the big Japanese manufacturers to lay out a definitive timescale for introducing electric bikes to its range with the announcement that its ‘first EV motorcycle’ will be introduced in 2024.

The bike will be the vanguard of an electric motorcycle range that’s due to expand to eight models by 2030, although Suzuki is focussing on ‘small and mid-sized’ bikes rather than trying to get in on the race to create a viable electric replacement for today’s high-performance combustion engines. For what the firm calls ‘large motorcycles for leisure purposes’ (and we call ‘the best sort’), Suzuki says it’s ‘considering adopting carbon-neutral fuels.’


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The electric Burgman has been on test in India for a couple of years


While Suzuki has been showing electric concept bikes for well over a decade, and for several years championed the idea of hydrogen fuel cells rather than batteries to power its future electric models, the firm’s ‘first’ EV bike (even Suzuki appears to have forgotten the e-Let’s electric scooter it launched on the Japanese market more than a decade ago) will be more mundane than most of those show models.

The company has been developing a battery-powered version of its Burgman Street 125 for several years. The petrol version of that bike is coming to the UK this year but has been offered in India since 2018, and the electric model – which had been expected to be launched by now – is rumoured to have been pushed back to 2024, a date that neatly coincides with Suzuki’s latest announcement.


Suzuki’s e-Let’s scooter was revealed back in 2011 for the Japanese market


We actually scooped patents for the Burgman Street Electric back in 2020, and since then the real thing has been spied testing in India – where it’s being developed – several times. The reason for its delayed launch has been put down to efforts to ensure its batteries are able to cope with the extremes of temperatures that they’ll be exposed to in the Indian market, but could also be connected to Suzuki’s involvement with the Swappable Batteries Consortium for Electric Motorcycles, alongside Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki, which has now established a standardised design for pack that’s believed to be based on the Honda Mobile Power Pack e: design. Initially, patents for the Burgman Street Electric showed it to have a fixed battery, but its layout and the fact that Honda is already rolling out the charging stations for its Mobile Power Pack e: in India makes it seem well suited to swappable batteries.


The Crosscage was a fuel cell powered concept bike – but also a running testbed – back in 2007


Suzuki’s plan for eight electric bikes by 2030 may not be ambitious enough. In the UK, the government already has plans to ban the sale of combustion engined bikes altogether by 2035, and wants to end the sale of machines in the ‘125’ class by 2030 (subject to the results of a consultation that took place last year). The EU is also heading in the same direction, with a similar end date of 2035 for ICE power on the cards. While there are several car companies pushing for sustainable, carbon-neutral e-fuels to be allowed in combustion engine vehicles after that date – of the sort Suzuki suggests it will investigate for larger bikes – it’s far from certain that they’ll be permitted. On four wheels, Suzuki seems to be more prepared for this reality, as its new strategy is to make sure that 80% of the cars it sells in Europe are electric by 2030, with a range of five different models planned.


A production version of the 2013 Extrigger could have had sales success like Honda’s MSX125 Grom


Suzuki’s first EV motorcycle might not be exciting, if it turns out to be the Burgman Street Electric, as expected, but the company has shown flashes of more interesting electric models in the past.

Back in 2013, for instance, Suzuki surprised with the Extrigger concept bike. A electric mini-bike along the lines of Honda’s MSX125 (launched a year after the Extrigger was shown), the success of the Honda in that ‘fun’ market shows how successful a production Extrigger could have been.

Earlier still, Suzuki developed the fuel cell powered Burgman scooter and, along with British company Intelligent Energy, the Crosscage concept bike – a fuel cell electric roadster shown back in 2007. Since then, there have been several patents for electric Suzukis, from GSX-R-style sports bikes to motocrossers, but the main focus has been on scooter-style machines.


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