In an unexpected move for any of the Big4 (HYSK – Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki), Yamaha has placed a full page ad ,(apparently) for the E-2 electric scooter in today’s Tokyo newspaper. I’m not exactly sure why we are seeing “E-2″ featured when I was expecting to see something called the EC-03 or Passol-L. I do see “EC-03 & PAS” there at the bottom and perhaps someone can chime in with some help with figuring all that out.
According to our man-on-the-street, Akisan, motorbikes are never advertised in the paper. Motorbikes are getting bad reputation in the eyes of the younger generation for the number of accidents and their association with bōsōzoku.
Perhaps Yamaha sees a clean-cut, peace-sign-thowing, earth-friendly electric as a means of cleaning up the motorbiker image? Whatever the reason, they chunked an impressive pile of ¥en at the idea to make it happen.
From what we know about the aluminum-alloy framed EC-03, it’s got a 50V 14Ah Lithum-ion battery that can push it along at 18 mph (on a flat surface) for a distance of 26 miles with a 6 hour charge time; similar performance to what we saw from the UltraMotor A2B Metro… maybe a bit of a longer distance.
I personally hope this electric “personal commuter” receives a warm welcome form the Japanese consumer. Yamaha only has plans to release 1,000 units of the EC-03 this year starting September 1st, 2010 in the Tokyo Metropolitan area and all over Japan starting TODAY.