Honda, Yamaha target electric motorbike launch-paper

TOKYO, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Japan's Honda Motor Co 7267.T and Yamaha Motor Co 7272.T have set launch dates for electric motorcycles, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

Yamaha aims to launch electric motorcycles by 2010 with a range of 100 km (60 miles) on a single charge, comparable to those with 50cc engine displacements, the paper said.

Honda, the world’s top motorcycle maker, will launch lithium-ion battery electric motorcycles in 2011, targeting customers such as Japan Post Service that may switch its fleet of about 90,000 motorbikes to electric models, it said.

Officials at Honda and Yamaha Motor said they are developing electric motorcycles but have yet to decide specifics, including prices and the timing of their introduction.

Lithium-ion batteries, now commonly used in laptop computers and mobile phones, are seen as a key component to improve the performance of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars.

Carmakers Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T, Nissan Motor Co 7201.T and Mitsubishi Motors Corp 7211.T each have joint ventures to develop lithium-ion batteries for car use with Matsushita Electric Industrial 6752.T, NEC Corp 6701.T group and GS Yuasa Corp 6674.T, respectively.

Shares in Honda fell 2.2 percent to 3,550 yen, while Yamaha was down 1.8 percent at 1,610 yen. The Nikkei average .N225 fell 2 percent. (Reporting by Naoto Okamura)