I’ll admit it, I’m a flip flopper. When I get new information I assimilate it, and if it forces me to change my views, then that usually means I have a more educated view. I just talked to someone in the know, who doesn’t read my blog or listen to my interviews. I still believe that with as packed as Honda is with building and developing race bikes, and as hurt as they have been economically with both the economy and the tragedy in Japan, I don’t see them having the resources to mount a serious solo effort into the electric scene. If anyone could, well lets be frank, if any of them could any one of the “big four” could pull engineers from their bigger corporate departments and rain holy old electrical warfare on the small American elmoto manufactures. But that’s like saying you have wealthy and talented uncles, with who’s resources combined you could knock out an AMA championship. Yes you could, but most likely they have better things to do. So it’s not likely to happen. Suzuki and Kawasaki will have electric motorcycles someday, and in the mean time some guys on the weekend will get together and build something to take to the IoM or a trade show to make all the journalists and bloggers go all a flutter. But until it becomes a market share they can justify getting into they won’t. They’ll let first Honda and then Yamaha take the first steps into the market and see how the water treats them. And even still their uncle’s won’t help, much. They’ll have to get the guy across town who’s been doing it a while to show them the ropes. KTM has made the move, and at almost the right time. The right time to make themselves a house hold name in electric dirt bikes and say they were there from the beginning. But, not at the right time to have their first bike be on par or better than the competition the first time out and totally eclipse the US companies, but it won’t take long because of their established marketing power and dealer base. Honda is a different matter. They are the engineering firm. So I feel they could build their own, but they would be perpetually trying to catch up for about 5 years sheerly because of the rate the technology is advancing. What I heard was finally a decent argument as to why Honda won’t take that long. If Honda finds themselves behind they will do whatever they have to do to catch up, ethical or not. Funny how that person said a similar thing about the TTXGP, but not in the same light. We all have our experiences and our opinions, and mine is limited.
So what does all this mean. It means my position on the “big four” hasn’t really changed, but now I am scared. They are still a few years out from joining the game, and when they do join they will be behind the 8-ball, but they have their ways. People can think happy thoughts about how Honda or Yamaha coming into the market will drive competition all they want. The problem is these folks don’t want competition, and they certainly don’t want products from pipsqueak little American companies on par with theirs. They want to win and be dominant and make lots of money. If the “big four” enter the market they will do what they have to to crush everyone in that market they don’t fear. No more Mission, no more Zero, no more MotoCzysz, and unless Polaris can protect them, no more Brammo. Lightning will probably end up being the Buell of elmotos.
You can root for the Japanese manufacturers coming into the game all you want and think they will bring better product. I think you’re just rooting for the status-quo, and the death of something original.