Suzuki e-Let's electric scooter
Suzuki has been testing its e-Let's electric scooter around its hometown of Hamamatsu for the past year and is now ready to send it out into the real world. Or, at least, the Japanese portion of the real world. While it doesn't have the kind of range that would prompt you to pen a letter home – 30kms (18.6 miles) at 30 km/h (18.6 miles per hour) – it does feature some pretty nice packaging and looks like a practical machine for commuting and errand running.

It's interesting to note is that Suzuki's first electric two-wheeler for consumers not only gets its Sanyo batteries supplied by Panasonic Group, but also its in-wheel motor, controller and charger that the two companies collaborated in developing. The battery has a built in management system, is stored under the seat and easily removable. The charger has the same form as the battery and can be brought along as well.

When the Suzuki e-Let's goes on sale on the 9th of January, the price tag will read ¥312,900 ($4,029 at today's rates) though if you want to get an extra battery, the "W" package will cost ¥396,900 ($5,110). Hit the jump for video of the e-Let's in action as well as press releases from both Panasonic and Suzuki.
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PRESS RELEASE

Suzuki to launch the e-Let's, an electric scooter with a detachable battery
e-Let's


Suzuki Motor Corporation will launch the e-Let's, an electric scooter which has an enhanced usability by equipping a detachable battery, while keeping the user-friendliness of a 50cm3 engine powered scooter. The e-Let's will be launched on 9 January, 2012*1.

The e-Let's has been developed as an electric scooter which realizes low noise, low vibration, and zero-emission environmental performance. Its aim was to familiarize a practical electric scooter which a user of an engine scooter can switch to without any hesitation.

Based on the Let's4 Basket, a 50cm3 scooter favored for its user-friendliness, the e-Let's has combined a high-performance in-wheel motor with regenerative braking capability and a lithium-ion battery. In addition to a typical smooth acceleration and nimble performance of an electric scooter, it realized a curb weight*2 that is 2kg less than that of the Let's4 Basket.

The lithium-ion battery has a built-in Battery Management Unit (BMU) which monitors the battery status, and can be detached to be recharged. A single charge from a Japanese 100V household outlet takes approximately four hours, giving a range of about 30km (assuming the e-Let's is ridden at 30km/h on level roads*3).

The compartment under the seat can carry either a charger or a spare battery, thus making it more convenient to charge away from home. It can also extend its range by replacing with a fully-charged battery, so it can be utilized to suit the purpose.

In addition to the basic e-Let's which is equipped with a battery and a charger, the e-Let's W is also available, adding a spare battery.

In preparation for a future zero-emission society, Suzuki is working on reducing CO2 by developing next generation vehicles (electric and fuel cell vehicles) such as the e-Let's, as well as offering our customers the fun of motorcycles.

*1: The e-Let's will be launched for the Japanese domestic market only.
*2: The weight of the charger is not included.
*3: The range of a single charge is a figure under a certain test condition. The actual range may differ depending on the difference in condition (driving and maintenance situations).

Panasonic Group to Supply Electric Drive System for Suzuki Electric Scooter

Providing total solutions to contribute to the accelerated development of light electric vehicles

Osaka, Japan - The Panasonic Group today announced that it will supply its electric drive system for Suzuki Motor Corporation's e-Let's electric scooter, to be released in January 2012 in Japan. The electric drive system consists of four components: a high performance in-wheel motor*1 and a high efficiency control circuit primarily developed by the Panasonic Group, as well as an electric motor battery system using consumer-use lithium-ion batteries and a dedicated charger that are backed by the Group's proven track record in the battery field.

Amid growing public concern over environmental protection, the development of electric vehicles, including two-wheelers and automobiles, is gaining momentum. Building on its experience in the electric assist bicycle market, the Panasonic Group has been cultivating technological expertise in drive motors and control circuits. In September 2010, the Panasonic Group, in collaboration with Suzuki, succeeded in developing a high performance in-wheel motor with regenerative braking capabilities and a high efficiency control circuit for Suzuki's prototype electric scooters, which have undergone on-road testing.

The Panasonic Group has been honing its technologies in motor control and rechargeable batteries over the years, which led to the development of the four components that comprise the core of light electric vehicles. The agreement with Suzuki has set an example for the Panasonic Group in delivering the four components as a total electric drive system for two-wheeled vehicles. The Group now aims to supply this total solution for light vehicles to companies actively developing electric vehicles.

The Panasonic Group continues to create and expand new markets in clean mobility, accelerating its efforts to contribute to achieving a low-carbon society.

An announcement has been made by Suzuki about the e-Let's electric scooter today.
Note:
*1: An in-wheel motor is a drive motor which can be incorporated into the hub of a wheel. A special characteristic of in-wheel motors is that the motor and tire axels are on the same axis. The drive mechanism can be fit completely into the wheel, which simplifies the structure of the vehicle and offers more flexibility in the design of the vehicle.
About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 8.69 trillion yen (US$105 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2011. The company's shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:PC) stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net/.
About SANYO

SANYO Electric Co., Ltd., a member of the Panasonic Group, is a global company with leading energy and environmental technology and products for commercial and consumer use. SANYO offers products and services that focus on energy generation, energy storage and efficient energy usage, such as photovoltaic (solar) systems, small- to large-scale-use rechargeable batteries, as well as other energy-efficient products and electronic components that are designed with the environment in mind. For further information, please visit the company web site at http://panasonic.net/sanyo/