Patent documents from Japan show that Suzuki is working on a new battery-powered bike that could be the company’s first superbike-style electric.
Suzuki has been relatively active in electric bike development in recent years, although it has often focussed on fuel cells rather than batteries. But we’ve never seen a design anything like the one shown in its latest patent application.
The interesting bit is the layout. Most electric machines follow a similar general design under the skin, with the electric motor mounted transversely and a reduction gearbox between it and the front sprocket.
This design is different, as the electric motor is mounted longitudinally – with its spinning central shaft lengthways in the bike’s chassis.
Suzuki’s unconventional configuration allows an array of slim, flat battery packs to be fitted around it inside the fairing.
The designs also show that there’s a bevel gear on the end of the motor shaft, turning the drive 90 degrees and entering the second unusual aspect of the bike – a conventional six-speed gearbox.
Harking back to Suzuki’s past is a cradle-style frame. Looking just like an early GSX-R chassis, it leaves plenty of space for the motor and batteries below it.
The biennial Tokyo Motor Show is due to take place again at the end of this year. Always favoured for the unveiling of futuristic show bikes, it would be the perfect platform for displaying an electric Suzuki GSX-R bike concept.
By Ben Purvis