A big player in the two-wheeled world is hopping into the electric market. Yamaha's PES1 (pictured above) and PED1 (pictured right) battery-powered concepts are going into production in the near future, the company announced. Both bikes originally debuted at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.
According to Visor Down, the Yamaha disclosed in its annual report that both cycles would be in production by 2016. "In addition to the advantages of being electrically powered, these motorcycles will offer the operability expected by existing motorcycle fans, together with a new riding experience," said a portion of the announcement.
If their skeletal looks don't give it away, these are some very light motorcycles. In concept form, Yamaha reported that the PES1 sport bike weighed less than 221 pounds, and the PED1 dirt bike weighed less than 187 pounds. Power came from a removable lithium-ion battery pack and brushless DC motor that were housed in a monocoque frame that was shared by both cycles. The concepts were equipped with a transmission with both manual and automatic modes.
Yamaha hasn't released performance figures for either bike yet. However, an earlier video suggested that the top speed of the PES1 was limited to 62 miles per hour. Granted, that was the concept version, and the production model could be faster.
Considering that Yamaha has a long and storied history of building fantastic bikes with internal combustion engines, we have high hopes it can do the same to challenge the electric cycle world.
Satoshi Ogiso, dubbed "the grandfather of the Prius," said in a recent interview in Tokyo, "Earlier would have been better, but it's taken a long time to get to this point." The point Ogiso was talking about was the arrival of representative prototypes of Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the precursor to the production FCV that the Japanese brand will offer for sale "around 2015."
It is intriguing that the company that broke open the hybrid vehicle segment and is now the go-to brand when car shoppers want to be green is regularly lambasted for its push into hydrogen. If bullying were a concept one could apply to cars, the Prius would be Exhibit A in support of the victim. But Toyota stuck with it, losing money on every one of them for years until, in a role reversal worthy of George McFly and Biff from Back to the Future, now it's, well, the Prius. And that's Prius, sir, to you, thank you.
What drives Toyota's hydrogen push is not an idealistic worldview, but a business case.
Toyota is not walking away from hybrids - in fact, it sees them playing a role for a long time into the future - but the company believes that unless there's a quantum leap in battery technology, hydrogen-powered vehicles will be the greater part of a diverse mix of vehicles used for medium- and long-range applications. What drives that idea is not an idealistic worldview, but a business case.
Said Toyota Technical Center Principle Engineer Matt McClory, "This is always a kind of mythical issue and I really don't know where it comes from. We could never have started - not only Toyota but all the major automakers - we would not have started doing fuel cells back in the '90s if we thought it would not make sense to come to market as an economical and sustainable solution."
We have now had a chance to drive Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell car twice, once earlier this year in California, and once a couple of months ago in Japan. We were repeatedly told in California, "The future is fuel cell." And in Japan, just a few months away from the car's introduction at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, we were told by John Hanson, Toyota's national manager of environmental, safety & quality communications, "The powertrain's been invented, making it a real car."
Continue reading 2015 Toyota fuel cell hydrogen vehicle prototype
While turbocharging and supercharging may be nothing new in the automotive industry, motorcycle engines are almost always naturally aspirated. But even that's beginning to change. At the Tokyo Motor Show last week, two major Japanese companies showed off new forced-induction motorbike engines.
Kawasaki rolled in with a supercharged four-cylinder motorbike engine. It offered little in the way of details, disclosing only that the turbine blades were developed in-house to withstand the heat and vibration of spooling up at motorbike speeds.
Suzuki is taking a different approach, however. Its Recursion concept bike packs a turbocharged 588cc two-cylinder engine with a turbocharger and intercooler. The compact package churns out just under 100 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque, packaged into a motorbike that weighs just 384 pounds dry.
It'll be interesting to see how this trend develops and how the reliance on forced-induction might change the character of the motorbikes in which they're installed. While we wait to see where this goes, you're invited to scope out the stock images of the Recursion concept in the gallery above and our live shots from the Tokyo show floor in the gallery below.
Episode #359 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Michael Harley and Jonathon Ramsey talk about the LA Auto Show, Tokyo Motor Show, and the release of the Car and Driver 10Best list. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #359:
Los Angeles Auto Show recap
Tokyo Motor Show recap
Car and Driver 2014 10Best list released
In the Autoblog Garage:
2015 Nissan GT-R
2014 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Edition 507
2014 Kia Sorento SX
Hosts: Dan Roth, Jonathon Ramsey, Michael Harley
Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #359 tonight, and we'll be joined by Michael Harley and Jonathon Ramsey to recap the Los Angeles Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show. Check out the topics below, drop us your questions and comments via our Q&A module, and don't forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #359
Los Angeles Auto Show recap
Tokyo Motor Show recap
Car & Driver 2014 10Best list released
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
To reiterate what Editor-in-Chief Neff said in our LA Auto Show wrap-up from earlier today, let's never do this whole two-major-shows-in-one-week thing ever again. Oh sure, we handled it, doing our whole obsessively kicking butt thing on a global scale. But here we are, Friday evening, and we're spent.
What proved interesting to see this week was just how different the Tokyo Motor Show was from its LA counterpart. In California, we were treated to a host of new products from domestic automakers, largely with a focus on production intent designs. In Japan, however, things got a whole lot weirder, with far more in the way of fanciful concepts and general oddities. Of course, that's just our opinion - be sure to tell us what you found awesome/awful in Comments.
We've got our whole mess of Tokyo coverage neatly organized in the table below, so take a look back to catch anything you may have missed. Don't forget about our LA roundup, as well.
Honda speeds down memory lane with its first F1 car
2014 Nissan Serena offers big flexibility in a tidy package
Cafe racer motorbikes storm Japan
Mitsubishi Fuso targets female truckers with pink polka dot Canter
Suzuki brings slew of car and bike concepts to Tokyo
2014 Nissan Dayz Roox is the littlest high-roof van you ever did see
Nissan e-NV200 EV charges into Tokyo
Honda shows MC-? short-distance EV
Gordon Murray finally reveals his MOTIV.e City Car with Yamaha
Mitsubishi AR Concept continues a wacky, wonderful tradition [w/video]
In America, Nissan attempts to slake our kinschlepping needs with its slow-selling Quest minivan, but in Japan, where consumers seem a lot less reluctant to buy MPVs, there are a lot more models for every size family and budget. Nissan itself offers no fewer than six such minivans, including the popular Serena seen here.
Technically a mid-cycle facelift, this new Serena continues to offer seating for up to eight people with a gas-only or mild hybrid driveline delivering power to either the front or all four wheels. This Tokyo Motor Show reveal takes that familiar package and lends it a freshened look, complete with a revamped front fascia with less chrome frosting, optional LED headlamps, new LED taillamps and new alloy wheel patterns. In addition, the Serena receives new active safety technology, including lane departure warning systems, Around View Monitor with Moving Option Detection, Driver Attention Alert, and so on.
With only a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission, you might expect the Serena to be smaller than today's American minivans, and you'd be right - it's roughly the size of a short-wheelbase Gen III Dodge Caravan, making its seating capacity particularly impressive. Said another way, the Serena is likely to stay forbidden fruit, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it in our gallery.
Continue reading 2014 Nissan Serena offers big flexibility in a tidy package
Though most Formula One teams are based in the UK, they hail from places all around the world. There are teams from Russia, India and Malaysia, but in the 1960s, the idea of an F1 team coming from as far away as Japan was unthinkable in what was a predominantly European racing series. That's just the notion that Honda aimed to upset when it entered the car you see here in the 1964 Formula One World Championship.
With a 1.5-liter V12 dispensing 220 horsepower through a six-speed manual (its shifter necessitating the steering wheel mounted left-of-center), the 1964 Honda RA271 was built around an aluminum monocoque in a package that looks like a Formula Vee car you could erect in your garage, but it state-of-the-art when it was built. Speaking of which, Honda only built one, and today it's part of the Honda Collection Hall at Motegi, but the priceless racer made the trip down to Japan's capital so we could check it out at the Tokyo Motor Show. Awfully nice of Honda, we'd say. Check it out in our gallery of live shots from the show floor above.
As an automaker, Suzuki may be long gone from American shores, but it's still a force to be reckoned with in its home country of Japan. At this week's Tokyo Motor Show, the brand known as much for its two-wheeled fare as its four displayed a slew concept vehicles for both drivers and riders.
The first is the Crosshiker concept (above), which Suzuki says is a followup to the Regina concept that debuted two years ago at the Tokyo show. Based on the same platform but elevated to the stance of a crossover, the Crosshiker is motivated by a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine, keeping it eco-chic while appealing to adventurous types with its fun styling.
Next up is the X-Lander Concept (above, left) that Suzuki says was made for use in the city and "sometimes go out to play in the field." Based on the Japanese-market production Jimny, the X-Lander features four-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain with a 1.3-liter engine.
The Hustler concept (above, right) is Suzuki's attempt to create a new vehicle market with a boxy minicar that features SUV styling cues. There's no word on what powers the concept, but Suzuki did show two versions: a four-door and four-door coupe of sorts, the latter featuring a slightly sloping roofline and forward-leaning rear window.
Moving into the world of two-wheeled transportation, we've got the Recursion concept (above, left), which marries the power of larger performance bikes with the handling and maneuverability of smaller bikes by using a lightweight, turbocharged, two-cylinder engine. The Extrigger concept bike (above, right) is altogether different, combining the electric powertrain of the company's e-Let scooter with a smallish supermoto-type frame, effectively tapping into the monkey bike revival started by Honda with the Grom.
Debuting this many concepts at one auto show illustrates that Suzuki isn't the company that many in the US may remember it as. Particularly in its own domestic market of Japan, this company remains competitive and these vehicles suggest its preparing for a bright future.
Continue reading Suzuki brings slew of car and bike concepts to Tokyo
We take it for granted that women can enter just about any career they want now. But there are still countless occupations where females are underrepresented. You don't see too many women truckers, for example - particularly in a country that's still as deeply traditional as Japan. But Mitsubishi Fuso is showing just how forward thinking - and simultaneously, how traditional (pink polka dots are a bit 'on the nose') it can be with this hybrid pink truck.
Now for those unfamiliar, the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation has nothing to do with Mitsubishi the car company these days. Instead, it's owned by Daimler, which we know best as the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. Yet Daimler also owns a number of truck and bus manufacturers - among them Freightliner, Thomas Built and Mitsubishi Fuso. One of latter's most popular products is the Canter, the model seen here coated in the shade of Pepto pink at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The point? To make truck driving more attractive to women, of course! We're not sure it'll catch on, but apart from the color scheme - which extends, incidentally, from the cab to the box and inside the cabin - this particular Canter (which Fuso has dubbed Canna) features a hybrid powertrain that produces 130 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, paired to a 7.5Ah lithium-ion battery good for 270 volts. The whole package weighs 6,250 pounds and can carry three Japanese school girls dressed up as Sailor Moon in the front and plenty of Hello Kitty merchandise in the back.