Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha Come Together To Form New Battery-Swapping Company

Range anxiety has been a persistent dent in the smooth future of EVs. And the main reason for this issue is batteries. To have EVs that are equivalent to the ICE-powered cars of today, the size and efficiency of battery packs should be leaps and bounds of what we currently have. And that doesn’t look like a viable solution. This is where the magic formula of battery swapping technology comes in.

Instead of baking the battery into the body frame, this idea paves way for “lego” batteries. Just like how you replace batteries in clocks, watches, and TV remotes and go on with life smoothly; living with EVs will be a smooth affair as well with battery swaps. While this idea has been around for quite some time, there hasn’t been a concrete initiative to materialize this on a big scale, that’s until now!

Last year we saw a Europe-based Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium finally happen between Honda, KTM, Yamaha, and Piaggio Group. The goals of this agreement are to discuss and develop the future of standardized Swappable battery systems for Europe. While they are still working on the basics; the big four bike makers of Japan – Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki have come together to form a battery-swapping company.

The battery pack to be used has also been developed by Honda. ENEOS is also part of this deal, and this company, called Gachaco, plans on making battery-swapping an efficient and hassle-free solution for the future of EVs. Well, read along, as there’s more to this wacky new company as well.

Gachaco is the company name, and it promises a sustainable and united future.

ENEOS and Honda Are Major Equity Holders In Gachaco

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki logos in one frame
Via: Press Releases

The news of Gachaco being formed has been making rounds with the big four Japanese automakers in the limelight. But actually, the Japanese petroleum company – ENEOS has deeper pockets in this deal that the rest. 51 percent of the equity is with ENEOS and 34 percent is with Honda.

Kawasaki Motors, Suzuki, and Yamaha Motors all come in with a 5 percent stake. ENEOS will most likely take care of infrastructure development and the smooth functioning of these battery swapping centers. With their years of experience in the gasoline sector, we think they will handle it very well.

Related: Volkswagen Just Created Its Own European Battery Company

This Battery Swapping System Will Use Honda Batteries

Honda's Mobile Power Pack e: batteries in a moped

With Honda having the next major portion of Gachaco’s share, it is not a surprise to see Honda’s Mobile Power Pack e: being the choice of batteries for this vision. This battery pack has been around for quite some time since its launch back in 2018.

It is extensively used in major Japan-sold electric bikes including the likes of a very utilitarian moped scooter called Benly e: and an all-electric trike called Gyro Canopy e:. And now with the support of bike makers like Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki, Honda’s portable battery pack can finally be in the limelight to woo other markets as well. Clever move there by Honda!

Related: What We Know About The $1.2 Billion Toyota Battery Plant In North Carolina

Aims To Be A Sustainable And Regenerative Battery “Service”

Gachaco battery usage flow chart

Yes, Gachaco is going to be a service-oriented company. In fact, in their promo video, they emphasize its vision as “Battery-as-a-Service” (BaaS). And they are focusing a lot on taking care of the end-cycle products as well. After the first-cycle usage of these portable batteries, ENEOS will re-purpose them to be used in commercial facilities and homes as well.

Gachaco battery station being utilized by a motorist

These batteries packs are deemed to be used three times, before being recycled. Also, even in its first life cycle, you needn’t stuff the batteries into a moped. Gachaco wants to be more than just a mobility solution by providing these swappable batteries to be used in anything that needs electric power. So, the idea of a clean service and a cleaner ecosystem looks very promising.

Gachaco will provide batteries to be utilized with anything and everthing that runs on electricity

As for the service, the roadmap looks solid. ENEOS will be deploying Gachaco hubs in all major city hubs like train stations and ENEOS service stations in Tokyo, to begin with. After accessing the results, they will adapt and move out to other Japanese cities.

This service is going to be a hit because Gogoro has been doing the battery swapping idea exceptionally well in Taiwan. Currently, Gogoro has over 10,000 battery swapping GoStations at over 2,3000 locations. And 340,000 battery swaps are done daily. So, battery swapping technology works pretty well!

Related: ZipCharge Go: Forget Range Anxiety With This Electric Vehicle Battery Charger In A Suitcase

It’s Japan For Now But Expansion Is Inevitable

Gachaco battery station layout view

Gachaco plans on setting up a base in Japan first. Tokyo will be enjoying this fruit first sometime in autumn 2022, with other major Japanese cities coming up slowly down the road. Asia and Europe have a lot of two-wheeled potential, in the ongoing EV revolution.

We guess that slowly after taking over Japan, Gachaco will win over Gogoro and standardize the battery swapping tech under their umbrella across South-East Asia. Gogoro has a Powered by Gogoro Network (PBGN) that allows users with motorcycles and mopeds from makes like Yamaha (with the cool EMF electric scooter), Aeon, and Motive Power Industry to use the batteries.

Gachaco is set to takeover Japan first , and then slowly the rest of the world

This network has also extended its support to automakers like Hero MotorCorp from India, and also Chinese names like Yadae and DCJ. So, if Gachaco succeeds in striking a deal with Gogoro then the whole of Asia will be won over. All of these are speculations and a wild guess, but if it happens then we will have a turning point for electric two-wheelers.

While car-makers are leaps ahead when it comes to battery tech (with legacy makers like Ford already slicing their companies into two for the future), the motorcycle bunch is still struggling to get an efficient system between those two wheels. But battery swapping might very well be the viable solution for all the woes.


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