Suzuki has outlined its transition from petrol- to electric-powered motorcycles in a strategy that will see at least 25 per cent of its range using battery electric vehicle (EV) technology by 2030.
The first-ever Suzuki electric motorcycle will launch in 2024, taking the form of a small-to-midsized commuter model, with a total of eight new electric bikes currently planned for production thereafter.
Notably, Suzuki has suggested that its larger motorcycles aimed at the enthusiast market will carry on with internal combustion engine (ICE) technology for the time being, although it will consider adopting carbon neutral fuels, meaning new biofuels made from waste matter or synthetic fuels concocted in a laboratory. To add context, all MotoGP bikes will run on some form of sustainable non-fossil fuel from 2027 as part of a deal signed in 2021.
For Suzuki, this may mean that its higher capacity models in its V-Strom adventure bike, GSX-S naked and GSX-R sportsbike ranges will be adapted to accept ‘green’ fuels as a bridge to a fully electric landscape that will be dictated by the market sometime in the future.
Suzuki’s shift to electric was foreshadowed in June of last year when it announced its departure from MotoGP, citing “the need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the automotive world is facing,” which were “forcing Suzuki to shift costs and human resources to develop new technologies”.
When Suzuki revealed its intentions to depart from top-level racing, INFO MOTO speculated that the brand was following the shift away from litre-class hero models at a consumer level to instead focus its efforts on more popular segments and future alternatively powered motorcycles.
This follows a similar shift in the motorcycle market away from specialised four-cylinder models to simpler and more affordable twin-cylinder platforms that can be altered slightly to be used in multiple applications, which must significantly reduce production costs for the manufacturer.
Yamaha’s ‘CP2’ platform is perhaps the best example of this as it is used to underpin the MT-07 roadster, XSR700 retro, Tracer 7 tourer, Tenere 700 adventure bike and YZF-R7 sportsbike.
This modular solution has also worked for more boutique marques like Aprilia, which uses virtually the same ‘660’ parallel-twin platform in its middleweight Tuono naked bike, RS sportsbike and Tuareg adventure bike.
The litre-class sportsbike market continues to innovate with the likes of BMW’s S 1000 RR and Ducati’s Panigale V4 arguably leading the charge, however, dwindling interest in full-fat sports models has led to skyrocketing pricetags across the segment. A new Honda Fireblade, for instance, starts at $55,529 rideaway.
It is likely that a transition from petrol- to electric motorcycles will begin in the small-sized commuter motorcycle and scooter space before large-capacity ICE bikes are cut entirely from circulation to make way for full-sized high-performance electric motorcycles.
Suzuki is not the first of the Japanese manufacturers to signal a transition to electric. Kawasaki has previously pledged, in a major strategic blueprint, to release 10 electric or hybrid models by 2025. That same document also outlined a plan for complete carbon-neutral electrification by 2035.
During a press briefing in Japan last year, Honda stated that it’ll have 10 electric motorcycles on sale by 2025.
Spencer has a keen eye for hard news, and does some of his best living on deadline day. He loves more than anything to travel on his motorcycle, and is adamant that Melbourne Bitter is a world-class lager. He also knows how to operate the big computery thing in the office. By night, Spencer plays guitar with Melbourne punk outfit LOUTS.