Back at the beginning of March, 2021, we told you that KTM was joining forces with Honda, Yamaha, and Piaggio to create swappable battery technical specifications. Of course, KTM has been selling the Freeride E-XC for some time now, so the electric bike space certainly isn’t new territory for the Austrian company. Getting into battery manufacturing, though, is entirely new.
On March 16, 2021, German business publication WirtschaftsWoche (which translates to “Business Week”) reported that German battery manufacturer Varta was getting into automotive e-mobility. You may already be familiar with Varta, as the company makes batteries for plenty of different household electronics.
Until now, Varta hadn’t ventured into making electric vehicle batteries, but it seems like they’re jumping in with both feet. Just one day later, on March 17, 2021, Varta and KTM jointly released a statement announcing their partnership to co-develop a platform battery for two-wheeled electric vehicles. Their target area is the 48-volt range, with peak output up to around 20kW.
Interestingly, this agreement doesn’t stop at battery development. Instead, KTM and Varta are thinking about the entire life cycle of the batteries they’ll create, from the first time they’re popped into a bike until they’re discarded. Specific goals the two lay out include research and development of the batteries, of course. However, they also include taking those batteries back when they’re no longer useful, recycling, and exploring second-life options for the spent batteries.
As more electric vehicles hit the road around the world, considering how best to handle the problem of exhausted vehicle batteries grows more important by the day. By baking that consideration into its plans from the start, KTM and Varta will hopefully help power innovation in this sector. Solutions that reclaim and reuse materials are increasingly important, particularly rare earth metals and other components that ideally shouldn’t end up in a landfill for a number of reasons.