Honda has been proposing a battery-swapping infrastructure that would allow motorcycles, scooters, and other vehicles to use the same interchangeable power packs for several years; with the release of the Honda Power Pack Exchanger e:, the company has finally taken a major step toward realizing this vision.
The Honda Power Pack Exchanger e:, first offered in Japan and India, is the complement to the Honda Mobile Power Pack e:, a battery unit that the manufacturer envisions eventually being the norm in a wide variety of cars. The Honda Gyro Canopy e: is an electric three-wheeler available in Japan that is aimed towards delivery firms and uses the Honda Mobile Power Pack e:, the successor to the original Honda Mobile Power Pack announced in 2017 for bikes like the PCX Electric, as its battery.
Scooters with removable batteries are already popular in some areas of the world, such as Taiwan, where the Gogoro battery pack has been adopted by 10 different manufacturers and 47 different kinds of bike and where more than 2300 “GoStations” may be used to switch out worn-out batteries for new ones.
Similar in concept and appearance to the Gogoro GoStation, Honda’s Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e: has a wall of charging slots and rows of batteries. Once the batteries are inserted, they are held securely in place and begin charging immediately. Users are equipped with smart cards that can be used to unlock fully charged packs by tapping a panel on the charger. Simply remove the new Mobile Power Pack e: from the Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e:, install it in your bike, and insert the old, depleted Mobile Power Pack e:.
A wall of Honda Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e: units may be assembled from a single “control” unit and many “extension” units that appear identical to the former but do not have an ID card reader.
Ingeniously, the MPP Exchanger e: may be powered by a Mobile Power Pack e:, allowing clients to collect charged batteries even if the mains energy supply is shut off, as can happen during a power outage.
At first, the Mobile Power Pack e is only available in Japan and India, where a Honda subsidiary is launching a battery-sharing program for electric rickshaw taxis.
Honda’s Mobile Power Pack e: has already been adopted as a standardized electric bike battery in Japan, with the first manufacturing units selling to Gachaco Inc, a joint venture involving Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and ENEOS Holdings.
Chargers like this have the potential to become as commonplace as gas stations in the not-too-distant future, as expressed by Honda’s ambition that the technology “can gain universal use inside and outside of Japan.”
To reach a comparable consensus on standard, swappable batteries, Honda is leading a separate group in Europe that includes companies like Piaggio and KTM. The Mobile Power Pack e: and the Mobile Power Pack Exchanger e: both adhere to the Honda standard developed in Japan, therefore their adoption by that organization is a foregone conclusion.