Electrically power assisted bicycles are bicycles equipped with a motor and battery that supply power to assist the rider’s pedaling. The Yamaha PAS* released in 1993 was the first electrically power assisted bicycle in the world. Yamaha PAS bicycles are not only easy to use and convenient, they also effectively eliminate the major drawbacks of conventional bicycles (difficulty in riding uphill, against the wind, or when carrying cargo).
Electrically power assisted bicycles are gaining popularity as a new category of commuter vehicle for people of all ages, facilitating
various forms of personal transportation—commuting to and
from work or school, taking children to kindergarten and back home, shopping, pleasure, and even for running errands in the city. More recently, sport e-Bikes designed for hobbyists have become popular and the e-Bike market in Europe is showing growth.
* The “PAS” product name is the acronym for “Power Assist System.”
Background of the Business
As awareness of societal issues like the global climate crisis and Japan’s aging population grew in the 1980s, Yamaha began developing a new vehicle that transcended the boundaries set by conventional product categories. Deploying a new development concept that focused on providing a “peoplefriendly, environmentally friendly vehicle that puts human perceptions first,” Yamaha Motor launched in 1993 the world’s first electrically power assisted bicycle.
Since then, the Company has pioneered the market through technological improvements. In 2014, we developed next-generation drive units based on the new GREEN CORE concept—creating units that are compact, lightweight and highly functional, and offer an enjoyable drive while being environmentally friendly, and in 2015, these units were introduced in main PAS models. In 2015, we launched the YPJ brand as a new concept in sports-type electrically power assisted bicycles.
In 2019, aggregate production of drive units for electrically power assisted bicycles reached 5 million units.
Current Business and Market Conditions
Since developing and releasing the world’s first electrically power assisted bicycle in 1993, Yamaha Motor has enhanced its PAS lineup and made a variety of advances with the evolution of the product.
In addition to an expansion of the scope of users and usages, demands for electrically power assisted bicycles are diversifying in line with social developments, including heightened awareness of health and environmental issues, changes in transportation environments, and high prices for gasoline, and the market is expanding as a result.
At the same time, legal standards for electrically power assisted bicycles have changed, including the revision of a law regulating the assistance ratio of electrically power assisted bicycles in 2008 and the establishment of a safety standard for bicycles with two infant seats in 2009.
In addition to sales of complete bicycles and supply of the drive units on an OEM basis in Japan, in 2012, Yamaha Motor began OEM supply of drive units to a major manufacturer for use in Europe, one of the world’s leading markets for electrically power assisted bicycles (where Germany and the Netherlands account for more than 50% of overall demand). Yamaha’s unit sales have been increasing in line with the growth of the European market, and the business is expanding globally.
Note: In Europe, electrically power assisted bicycles are called “e-bikes.”
Assistance Ratio as Set by Legal Standards in Japan
Up to 10 km/h, electric power assists pedaling at a maximum ratio of 1:2*
Above 10 km/h, electric power assist is moderated to keep the bicycle from going too fast
Above 24 km/h, electric power assist is cut off
* The maximum ratio set by legal standards
Outline of the PAS System
Note: For the pedaling power of 33%, the assist power of 67% is the maximum ratio set by legal standards.