Green scooters put zip back into urban commuting
Thursday 15 July 2010
Motorbike maker Yamaha has unveiled an about-town electric scooter that is aimed at fashionable and environment-conscious commuters.
The EC-03 is due to go on sale in Japan in September at the very affordable price of Y240,000 (€2,136) and will be released in Europe and Taiwan in 2011, the company said, although there are no plans to start selling the vehicle in the North American market yet.
Described as a "smart minimal commuter," the scooter recharges from an ordinary domestic electric socket, with the energy stored in lithium-ion batteries, and has a maximum range of 43 km on a single charge.
Because it is electric, the EC-03 produces zero emissions and is very quiet, making it ideal for urban environments at night, Yamaha said.
The scooter is something of a halfway creation between increasingly popular electric bicycles - which use a small motor to help the cyclist - and motorbikes with an engine capacity of around 50cc.
That market, however, has been suffering in Japan's economic downturn and the declining interest among young people in Japan in motorcycles.
In early July, Honda Motor Co. announced that it was slashing the price of its entire range of vehicles - some 45 models - by between 10 and 30 percent as it tries to arrest an alarming decline in sales.
The price of its cheapest model the Super Cub 50, which has a displacement of 50cc, will fall by Y40,000 (€356), the company said.
Aware of the growing interest in electric scooters, Honda announced in April that it would also be entering the market with the EV-neo, which is also an environment-friendly, electric-powered vehicle.
The EV-neo is scheduled to hit Tokyo's streets in December, although Honda only plans to lease the scooters and is targeting companies in the delivery industry - such as pizza restaurants or newspapers - and small business operators.
Japan's motorcycle manufacturers have traditionally enjoyed a major slice of the global market for two-wheeled vehicles but are coming up against growing competition at the lower end of the engine displacement spectrum from electric bicycles.
Companies in China including Zhejiang Leike Machine Industry Co., Sonik Holding Group Ltd. and Taizhou Jiaojiang Zhiwei Motorbike Manufacturing Co. have been quick to jump on that slice of the transportation market, partly because they are cheaper and easier to build, and there are already an estimated 20 million electric bikes on the roads of China.
Life & Style blogs
Three in every four British men will be overweight by 2030, says World Health Organisation
Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
High school in Texas with no sex education policy is dealing with chlamydia outbreak
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
- 1 Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 3 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 4 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
- 5 Chinese theme park sets up 'death simulator' where volunteers can experience being cremated
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...