Yesterday, Cycle World discovered a Yamaha patent for an electric motorcycle outlining the company's potential plans to join the ranks beside Zero's portfolio and Harley Davidson's upcoming LiveWire. While the motorcycle industry has stubbornly resisted the vehicle electrification revolution so far, electric concept models of bikes have been cropping up here and there, in addition to a limited collection of production models by companies like Zero and Lightning Motorcycles. As the transition begins to gain traction, bigger names in the industry have begun testing the waters, including Harley Davidson, which recently revealed its production LiveWire electric motorcycle.
Since 2013, Yahama has unveiled a handful of electric concept motorcycles that were never converted into production models, despite the company promising that "production electric bikes based on the PED2 and PES2 were planned." Recently, though, Cycle World unearthed a Yamaha patent via the European Patent Office for an electric bike that could, in fact, be inspired by the most recent concepts.
The patents don't deal with the powertrain or the model design, but instead, the charging socket locations. Since electric motorcycles spend hours being charged, this seemingly small detail is an important one, and Yamaha outlines three different options in the patent: the "tank" position (where gas tanks are usually filled), under the rear passenger seat, or towards the headlight.
Though the patent only really describes the potential position of charging sockets, it represents Yamaha's plans to reposition itself within the motorcycle industry. Once Yamaha enters the electric bike market, the whole industry is sure to shift.