Electric race cars are making progress steady progress towards the eventual formation of an all-electric racing series. But let’s be brutally honest here; all-electric racing on two wheels or four is still years, if not decades away from entering the mainstream the way NASCAR or Formula One has. For now though, electric vehicles can help make racing greener in a more supportive role. Yamaha has just announced that it will be supplying a fleet of electric scooters to Toyota Racing’s efforts in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Yamaha’s EC-03 electric scooters were launched in Europe last year with a 50 volt lithiuim-ion battery which gives it a driving range of about 26 miles/43 kilomters per charge. Each charge takes around six hours from a common household outlet, and the Toyota Racing crew will have 16 of them for use around the racing paddock. I’m not sure what the Toyota team was using before, but Yamaha is obviously looking to cash in on the Toyota Racing team’s resurgence.
Electric cars are seeing more and more use as support vehicles on race tracks, and for good reason. Though limited in range, electric vehicles require less maintenance and fuel costs in pure dollar amounts, despite their high upfront cost. The Yamaha EC-03 is actually pretty cheap at just $2,800, and Yamaha no doubt wants the exposure coming from Toyota’s suddenly-popular TS030 hybrid Le Mans racer. The Yamaha electric scooter and Toyota racing hybrid are a dynamic duo on opposite ends of the clean vehicle spectrum, and I love the contrast.
Now Yamaha just has to start selling such scooters over in the U.S.