Gachaco battery exchange service launched by Japanese bicycle manufacturers


Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are creating a new company in Japan on April 1 with the energy company Eneos: Gachaco will offer a service for sharing standardized exchangeable batteries for electric two-wheelers and the corresponding infrastructure.

The Gachaco battery swap system will use Honda’s Mobile Power Pack and plans to launch battery swap stations for electric motorcycles and mopeds in Tokyo. Other major Japanese cities are expected to follow from fall 2022.

Eneos says it aims to contribute to the realization of a recycling-driven society by building a BaaS (Battery as a Service) platform for electric mobility and other battery recycling systems. Battery exchange stations will be located at suitable locations such as railway stations and Eneos petrol stations. The plan is to reuse the batteries for secondary and tertiary use before they are ultimately recycled.

In second-life applications for moped and motorcycle batteries, Gachaco will promote the use of standardized interchangeable batteries for other applications, such as stationary energy storage for commercial installations and private homes. Second-life applications for used EV batteries often also involve grid stabilization storage, as well as stationary storage for electric car charging stations.

The CEO of the new company will be Kazunari Watanabe. Eneos holds 51% of the company’s capital, Honda 34% and Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha 5% each.

Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha have already agreed on standards for interchangeable batteries and replacement systems as part of the Exchangeable Battery Consortium for Electric Motorcycles and Light Electric Vehicles, which was established in April 2019.

Yamaha covers some bases here as they have also joined the Gogoro battery swap system in Taiwan. Here, Yamaha’s electric scooters were designed using the Gogoro Development Kit (GDK). Gogoro battery swap stations appear to outnumber gas stations in Taiwan before the end of the year. The Powered by Gogoro (PBGN) network is open to customers with electric motorcycles and mopeds from Yamaha Motor, Aeon Motor and Motive Power Industry and also includes Hero Motorcorp in India and Yadea and DCJ in China.

Battery swapping is also heating up in Europe. Earlier this month, Swobbee micromobility battery swap stations were funded for expansion in Europe, while the EU also released standards and guidelines for batteries for light electric vehicles to enable the exchanging batteries.

Including reporting by Carrie Hampel


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