In a model similar to that used by Gogoro, Honda has started rolling out modular battery exchange stations in Japan and India that each hold a dozen Mobile Power Packs for hot-swaps into electric scooters, motorcycles and rickshaws.
The basic idea is that instead of e-mobility users having to worry about range and charging time, they would just roll up to a Honda Power Pack Exchanger e: station when running low on juice, remove the spent battery from their compatible vehicle and swap it for a fresh battery pack from one of the angled bays.
User registrations, payments and searches for station locations will all be handled by Honda’s Power Pack Cloud service, which will also be home to management tools for station operators.
The battery packs in question are Honda’s Mobile Power Packs, which we saw at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show and later in a bunch of robotic concepts. Each 1.3-kWh Li-ion battery pack measures 298 x 177.3 x 156.3 mm (11.7 x 6.9 x 6.1 in), weighs 10.3 kg (22.7 lb), rocks a handle up top for an easy swap, and is IP65-rated weatherproof.
The first Honda Power Pack Exchanger e: station has been delivered to Tokyo and is being operated by Gachaco – a company set up earlier this year by motorcycle makers Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, along with energy company Eneos, to launch a standardized battery sharing service in major cities throughout Japan.
Each grid-connected station holds 12 batteries, but multiple slave units can be connected to a single master unit to expand the number of available battery packs per installation.
A Honda subsidiary in India has also started a battery sharing service for electric rickshaw taxis that makes use of the Honda Power Pack Exchanger e: station.