I’ve posted a few times before about my wish for useful battery-swappable scooters, as a way to enable electrified transportation for those that don’t have access to a plug where they can park. Here’s some more ruminations on the idea.
Zero Motorcycles has a line of lighter-weight, 250 cc-class motorcycles - the FX and FXS - that have battery swapping capability, with either one or two 3.3 kWh packs (well, it’s slightly under 3.3 kWh, given that two add up to 6.5 kWh). They’ve got pretty decent energy density - the difference in weight between the FX ZF3.3 Modular and FX ZF6.5 Modular is 42 pounds, so they’re at about 5.9 kg per kWh. They’ve got quite good power density, too - 20 kW per pack, under 1 kg per kW - but that’s, IMO, unnecessary for this idea (and, in fact, it might be possible to trade some of that power density for energy density).
There’s a couple problems with these motorcycles, though. First off, the packs are too heavy - 35 lbs or 16 kg is a common limit for safe lifting, and at 42 lbs, there’s some workplaces where a team lift would be required. And, second, they’re optimized for hoonage, rather than efficiency, which seriously hurts the usable range - top speed is high enough that you can burn through the packs quickly, aerodynamics aren’t considered (because you’re going to drop it on the trail, and an aero fairing would add to repair costs), and riding position is also optimized for hoonage over aerodynamics. There’s also not much storage unless you put a top case or bags on.
So, my idea is to have a family of three models of scooter, with aerodynamics and practicality being a strong consideration in their design. All three scooters would share a battery pack - 2 kWh, about 12 kg (maybe as much as 16 kg if it reduces cost significantly, but that’s an absolute maximum), and about 4 kW of power output.
The first model would be competing against 50 cc moped-class scooters, with one battery pack (and the option of adding a second to increase range), 4 kW power output, and either a 45 km/h top speed for Europe, or a 30 mph top speed for the US, as appropriate. Riding position would be fairly upright, like other members of its class.
The second model would be competing against 125 cc scooters. Two battery packs, 8 kW power output, and a top speed somewhere around 90-100 km/h. Riding position would be similar to the moped-class model.
Finally, the third model would have more maxi-scooter-like proportions - lower, longer, and more aerodynamically optimized. Think Honda Helix (so, slower than current maxi-scooters), but with better aerodynamics. Three battery packs, 11-12 kW power output (11 kW fits into European regulations for learners on motorcycles), and a top speed somewhere around 125 km/h.