The ongoing shift to electric two-wheelers continues to evolve. As of August 12, 2021, Continental Engineering Services is teaming up with German battery specialist Varta on a pilot battery project. CES is the development branch of Continental, and this compact 48V battery will provide equivalent power and speed to a 125cc piston-powered scoot.
Power provided will be at least 10 kW, although more may also come down the road. Two relatively lightweight, compact battery packs will be able to provide approximately 100 kilometers of range on a single charge. That’s about 62 miles, making them sufficient for many urban commuters to utilize.
Most existing piston-powered, commuter-oriented motorbikes and scoots are in the 125cc range, so that’s an important power equivalency for this project to reach. Power and range are currently struggles for the electric two-wheeler market. Outside of Asia, most electric two-wheelers in 2021 are either equivalent to a 50cc combustion engine in power, or else they’re more expensive and powerful machines by the likes of Zero, Energica, and Harley-Davidson.
Varta’s V4Drive lithium-ion battery cells weigh just 9 kilograms each, or about 20 pounds. Continental and Varta say that these can be charged externally, but it the news gets even better. The duo also says that its battery management system will allow users to connect any number of these batteries together while still seamlessly controlling them all to power a single vehicle.
Of course, adding 20-pound bricks to your vehicle design will quickly add up—but if they each offer an approximately 50-kilometer range (about 31 miles), the math is easy to do in your head. It’s unclear if this has anything to do with Varta’s earlier partnership announcement with KTM from March, 2021. While KTM has not so far mentioned scooter development, its sibling Pierer Mobility Group company Husqvarna is expected to launch the ePilen electric scooter in the not-too-distant future.
We know that Continental and Varta are working together on compact, powerful battery pack solutions that can easily be charged off the bike, as well as connected together to offer greater range. We also know that KTM and Varta are working together to streamline the entire life cycle of batteries used for electric vehicles. Whether these two agreements will have any effect on or relationship to one another remains to be seen, but it’ll be interesting if they do.