Product Briefs: Swifty, Yamaha, Honda, Onewheel, Lotus & Shift Robotics

A UK e-scooter brand pioneering the use of Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP) battery technology has won a Best Start-up Award at last month’s Micromobility America 2023.

Swifty’s new SwiftyGO G500 model is the first electric scooter to use a LFP battery, which has emerged as a safer alternative to existing Lithium Nickel Maganese Cobalt batteries and was reportedly one of the factors that earned the favour of Micromobility America award judges.

LFP technology is not subject to the thermal runaway that can occur with Lithium NMC batteries if they are damaged or over-charged.

Several car brands have transitioned to LFP batteries, including Tesla, Ford, GM and China’s biggest EV manufacturer, BYD.

eBike product shot
The Yamaha AWD. Photo credit: Yamaha.

Yamaha Two-Wheel-Drive E-Bikes

Yamaha used the Japan Mobility Show to unveil two concepts in two-wheel-drive e-bikes.

It’s Y-00Z MTB was presented as a “technical showcase of what is possible with eMTB technologies”, combining dual drive systems with an Electric Power Steering (EPS) system employing a magnetostrictive torque sensor.

While the Y-00Z MTB is pure MTB in its design, the Y-01W AWD is more hybrid in its design and utilitarian in nature.

Close up shot of eBike steering mechanism
The steering assist unit on Yamaha’s Y-00Z MTB. Photo credit: Yamaha.

The adventure e-bike combines a centre-mounted electric motor driving the rear wheel with a hub motor at the front, and a coordinated electronic control to manager the two-wheel-drive system.

Twin batteries enabling long-distance rides and wide tyres further expand the potential applications for the Y-01W AWD.

eBike product shot
The Honda eMTB prototype, with its distinctive aluminium frame. Photo credit: Honda.

Honda E-MTB Prototype

One of Yamaha’s key rivals, Honda, also grabbed attention with an electric bike offering at the Japan Mobility Show.

Its e-MTB Concept was firmly set in the mountain bike sphere, with an original frame and swingarm constructed from thin-wall aluminium casting technology typically used for high-performance motorcycles.

Monowheel product shot
The Onewheel GT S-Series board is Future Motion’s fastest and most powerful board, capable of speeds up to 40kmh. Photo credit: Future Motion.

Highs & Lows for Future Motion

US electric skateboard manufacturer Future Motion has bounced back from a nationwide recall of all its Onewheel boards, issued in September in response to four incidents that reportedly results in rider deaths.

Future Motion reportedly initial resisted calls by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission for a product recall, first made in 2022, but eventually agreed to cooperate with the commission and recalled all of the approximately 300,000 Onewheel boards sold in the US.

It conceded its boards can stop balancing the rider if the boards’ limits are exceeded or if battery levels are running low, creating a crash hazard.

The company rebounded last month with a new Haptic Buzz safety feature – to alert the rider when their board nears its limits – and the release of the quickest Onewheel Future Motion has produced.

Haptic Buzz features an audible alert, as well as a buzzing sensation, to riders know to lean back and slow down.

At the end of October, Future Motion launched its Onewheel GT S-Series board, which is its fastest, most powerful and its most expensive.

Its 113 volts of power, compared to 75 volts from the S-Series that previously topped the range, and top speed of 25 miles per hour (40.2kmh) – up from 20mph – comes with a price tag of US$3,200 (A$5,019).

Man standing with eBike outdoors
UK cycling great Sir Chris Hoy with the Lotus Type 136 limited edition e-bike. Photo credit: Lotus.

Lotus Type 136

Versatility comes at a formidable price with the Lotus Type 136 e-bike.

The sportscar brand promises “the best of both worlds” with the Type 136 – a superfast electric assist e-bike that become a lightweight thoroughbred mechanical road bike when the battery is removed.

An initial limited-edition run of 136 units will sell for €25,000 (A$41,948), complete with a full Campagnolo Super Record Wireless groupset, Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 60 wheels and black gold paint.

Subsequent releases will sell for a base price of €17,950 (A$30,135), equipped with SRAM drivetrains, and are expected to become available during the European spring in 2024.

The Type 136 will weigh just 9.8 kilograms, including a 300-gram motor that delivers 125 watts per kilogram.

Robotic shoes product shot
Moonwalkers by Shift Robotics. Photo credit: Shift Robotics.


Robot shoes developed by Texas company Shift Robotics have been selected by TIME magazine as one of the 200 Best Inventions of 2023.

Moonwalkers, launched in May, are electricity-powered, robotic shoes that enable users to walk up to three times faster than normal.

They have a top speed of 11kmh, a range of eight to 11 kilometres and take around 90 minutes to charge.

Moonwalkers version 1.0 are available direct from the company for US$1,399 (A$2,185).

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