One of the biggest pains about e-biking is recharging and replacing the batteries. But could Enyring, a new battery-swapping initiative from Japanese motor company Yamaha, be the first step towards making that a thing of the past?
Enyring, which is initially being rolled out in Europe, will be based in Berlin. It will launch in Germany first, and hopefully expand to the Netherlands soon after.
It will work on a subscription basis, and aims to eliminate the need to charge batteries and replace them when they’re worn out. Instead, subscribers to the service will have access to battery stations dotted around various cities, where they will able to swap batteries, a process that should take a few minutes, rather than having to wait around for a full recharge.
Enyring will target compact urban vehicles in the 'low-speed range', which Yamaha says will mean mainly e-bikes.
Enyring will then recharge depleted batteries en masse, which is more environmentally friendly than all riders recharging their batteries individually, on an economy of scale basis, while batteries at the end of their usable life cycle (down to 70-80% of their original capacity) will be “reused as storage batteries, disassembled into cells, recycled and reused as new batteries”.
Battery-swapping systems already exist for light electric vehicles, such as Gachaco in Japan (a joint venture by Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha) and Gogoro in India for electric scooters. But Enyring appears to be first similar service for e-bikes, and you’d hope it is the start of a new world-wide trend, because the ease of swapping batteries would do a lot to eliminate range anxiety (see also: How to make your e-bike go further on a single charge), especially if the service moves beyond just cities.
However, a lot of questions remain about Enyring. It’s not clear which – if any – e-bike brands will be able to use Yamaha’s batteries or whether the company is planning to create a new standard that e-bike companies will have to adopt.
So the idea of e-biking across the US checking in at battery-swapping stations in the middle of the Mojave Desert or the heart of the boondocks might be a pipe dream right now, but this could be the start of the next evolution in e-biking.
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