A couple of weeks ago we brought you the news that the big four Japanese manufacturers are working together to create a common standard for replaceable batteries, charging technologies and charging stations. Now, patent drawings filed by Kawasaki reveal what direction the consortium could be heading.
Kawasaki’s patent is for a removable battery, which slides out of the left hand side of the bike, requiring that side of the frame to be removed as well. A second patent image also shows the entire battery unit being supported by a dolly, suggesting it might not be quite as easy as you might imagine.
Current electric bikes with removable batteries include the Gogoro, and Super Soco, both of which are urban commuter bikes, with fairly short ranges. (60 miles for the Gogoro and anywhere between 37 and 62 miles for the Super Soco, depending on which power mode you use.)
The batteries in both of these machines can simply be removed with one hand, and carried around pretty easily, so you can charge them in your flat overnight, or in the office during the day. Or, perhaps, in the future, you could quickly remove them, insert them into a charging station, and remove a fully charged battery.
It doesn’t look like this will be the case with Kawasaki’s design, although it should be noted a patent application doesn’t always mean something will make into production. If a dolly is needed to remove the battery we can bet it’s pretty awkward and heavy to move about. And removing one side of the frame? I’m sure the people at Kawasaki know way more than I could ever know about frame strength, rigidity, and all that, but it seems like that would weaken the frame at least a little bit.
Even if it is a bit cumbersome, and even if it doesn’t end up making it to production, it’s good to finally see the big Japanese manufacturers finally getting onboard with electric bikes.