The leading Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, often referred to as the “big four,” are demonstrating a concerted commitment to electric mobility. In a collective endeavour, these renowned companies have joined forces to establish a battery technology consortium in Japan, resulting in the formation of Gachaco—an organisation dedicated to refining battery technology for consumer applications. Additionally, Gachaco has entered into a strategic partnership with Japanese petroleum company Eneos to further bolster its efforts.
In late 2022, Gachaco embarked on the deployment of battery swapping facilities across Japan, with initial locations established in collaboration with Honda. Building on this foundation, the organisation is now gearing up to accelerate its battery sharing programme. Gachaco has unveiled plans for the “Gachaco Battery Sharing Experience Campaign,” aimed at streamlining and enhancing battery swapping technology for optimal user convenience. The ultimate objective is to make the battery sharing service available to the public by 2024.
Under the “Gachaco Battery Sharing Experience Campaign,” a select group of 30 participants will be chosen to utilise the latest offerings from Honda's electric moped lineup, including the EM1 e: and Benly e:. These electric mopeds will be provided to participants on a complimentary basis, with charges incurred solely for the services utilised during the campaign. It's important to note that this trial initiative is restricted to the Tokyo area and requires participants to have access to a credit card. Participants will receive a special gift card as a token of appreciation at the campaign's conclusion.
Gachaco extends its battery sharing platform at an exceptionally affordable rate, priced at just 300 Yen per month, equivalent to approximately $2 USD. Users, however, will be subject to additional fees based on their specific usage, calculated at 300 Yen (approximately $2 USD) per kilowatt-hour, inclusive of the battery fee. The trial campaign is scheduled to commence in late October and conclude in November 2023.
Battery swapping has long been regarded as a promising solution to address range anxiety associated with electric vehicles. This approach offers the advantage of rapid battery replacement, akin to refuelling a conventional vehicle. Provided that batteries conform to established standards, this method can be applied to a wide array of vehicles. However, it necessitates specialised technology and infrastructure, including secure storage and charging facilities for batteries not in use, along with stringent security measures to safeguard against tampering or theft.
The collaborative efforts of the big four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, coupled with Gachaco's initiatives, underscore the industry's commitment to advancing electric mobility and enhancing user experiences in the rapidly evolving landscape of electric vehicles.