Yamaha to debut all-electric, two-wheel-drive concept bike at Toyko Motor Show
Battery-electric propulsion won't be limited to cars alone.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha is rolling out yet another electric motorcycle concept for the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, just as it did two years ago. This time around, that concept won't have one driven wheel -- it'll have two. This coincides perfectly with Yamaha's 2013 promise to have electric motorcycles on sale some time in 2016.
The Yamaha PES2 concept is a direct descendent of 2013's PES1 electric bike. But whereas the PES1 looked a bit too futuristic for mass production, the PES2 looks closer to some of the sport bikes we're used to seeing on the street already.
The motorcycle is powered by a removable battery pack called the Yamaha Smart Power Module. Not only is it responsible for providing juice, it's also an integral structural element. The PES2 has a monocoque construction, which means the seat, tail and tank (or battery, in this case) act as a single piece, providing strength and rigidity that aren't available when these pieces are all separate elements. It's more expensive to manufacture, but again, this is just a concept.
Another interesting tidbit about the bike is its two-wheel-drive system. As with most motorcycles on the market -- kits, one-offs and small-batch models aside -- one motor powers the rear wheel. However, Yamaha added a second, smaller motor on the front hub that drives the front wheel, as well. That additional weight low and up front should benefit both center of gravity and weight distribution, which means this could be a pretty gnarly bike on the road. That said, with additional unsprung weight up front, it won't come without compromise.
The PES2 isn't the first electric concept to come from a major manufacturer. Harley-Davidson's all-electric LiveWire concept has been around since 2014, and H-D has even given out a few test rides to the media and the public. We're still waiting on Yamaha to fulfill its 2016 production promise, but its concepts are looking more production-ready each time they appear.