Yamaha Motor Co Ltd announced July 14, 2010, that it will release an electric two-wheeled vehicle for personal use at a price of ¥252,000 (approx US$2,857).
The two-wheeled vehicle, "EC-03," will be launched in areas around Tokyo Sept 1, 2010, and in other areas of Japan Oct 1, 2010. The company aims to sell 1,000 units in the first year.
Yamaha Motor released the Passol electric two-wheeled vehicle in 2002 and the EC-02 and the Passol-L in 2005. But the company stopped selling them in 2007 due to the recall of their lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery and their weak unit sales that did not turn a profit, said Masanori Kobayashi, executive officer of the company.
However, Yamaha Motor decided to reenter the market in consideration of the rising environmental awareness among general consumers and businesses, said Yamaha Motor President Hiroyuki Yanagi.
Li-ion battery supplied by Sanyo
Yamaha Motor unveiled the EC-03 at Tokyo Motor Show 2009, which took place in October 2009. It can travel 43km per charge at a speed of 30km/h on a flat paved road, which is equivalent to the performance of the EC-02. In practice, the EC-03 runs about 25km per charge. The remaining battery level can be checked on its LCD panel.
The Li-ion rechargeable battery of the EC-03 has a current capacity of 14Ah (voltage: 50V) and a power capacity of 700Wh. It is manufactured by Sanyo Electric Co Ltd while the Li-ion battery of the Passol, EC-02 and Passol-L was made by Hitachi Vehicle Energy Ltd.
The battery module of the Passol, EC-02 and Passol-L is replaceable, but that of the EC-03 is fixed to the main body. The battery charger of the EC-03 is located under the seat. And the battery is charged using AC100V household power outlet. The charging time is about six hours. The charger does not support rapid charging.
Aiming to enter global market in 2011
The EC-03, which is classified as a motor-assisted bicycle in Japan, comes with a motor whose rated output is 580W. Its maximum output is 1.4kW, which is higher than that of the EC-02 (1.2kW). Also, the voltage of the Li-ion rechargeable battery was enhanced from 25V to 50V, improving the traveling performance at startup (at a low torque) and on an uphill road, Kobayashi said.
The mass of the EC-03 is 56kg, which is about 70% that of a gasoline-engine-driven scooter of the same size. The mass was reduced by using an aluminum alloy for the frame, wheel, etc. The size of the electric two-wheeled vehicle is 1,565 (L) x 600 (W) x 990mm (H). Yamaha Motor reduced the total length so that the vehicle can be mounted on an elevator and stored indoors.
Starting from the EC-03, Yamaha Motor plans to expand the line of its electric two-wheeled vehicles. It intends to increase the number of its electric two-wheeled vehicles to three or four in the middle of the 2010s. Also, the company will release its products in Taiwan and Europe in 2011.
"We will make a full-fledged entry into the global electric two-wheeled vehicle market and aim at the top share," Yanagi said.