Yamaha Motor unveiled the first iteration of the TY-E electric trials bike in 2018. While entering the bike into competitions like the FIM Trial-E Cup and the All Japan Trial Championship, development of the machine has continued and its competitive potential making dramatic forward strides.
The overarching goal of the TY-E is to deliver fun that surpasses ICEs by taking advantage of the unique traits of electric vehicles. Competing against conventional gasoline-powered rivals as the sole electric entry in the 2023 All Japan Trial Championship, the TY-E demonstrated the advances being made by finishing 3rd in the season standings.■Fun Surpassing ICEs by Taking Advantage of the Unique Traits of EVs
The TY-E 2.2 was the only electric model entered into the 2023 All Japan Trial Championship and finished the season in 3rd place.
"Electric vehicles are often spoken of in an environmental context, but they have their own unique points of appeal, like the output characteristics they are capable of, for example," says Takeshi Toyota, the founder and lead developer of the TY-E project. While it began as a small and independent R&D pursuit, the first complete version of the bike was unveiled in 2018. "I believe they have the potential to deliver more fun and performance than current internal combustion engines can if we move away from trying to make them all-conquering and instead narrow things down and focus on specialization," he continues. "Having long range is not a vital factor in trials, so it's a form of competition suited to demonstrating what electric powertrains have to offer."
The goal of developing the TY-E is to deliver fun that surpasses that of models using internal combustion engines by taking advantage of traits unique to EVs. To achieve this, the TY-E employs a tightly packaged combination of the latest parts and components, including a laminated monocoque frame, a high-density model-specific battery, and an electric power unit paired to a clutch and flywheel for delivering instantaneous power.
Five years after the first version debuted, 2023 was a major breakthrough year for the TY-E. While being the only electric bike entered in the All Japan Trial Championship, Kenichi Kuroyama took the bike to 3rd place for the season. In addition, at the inaugural Japan Mobility Show, the TY-E made for a dynamic performance at the Yamaha Motor booth that thrilled visitors, sending a message about the rising potential of electric bikes in the world of entertainment.
■Electronics Making the Bike an Extension of the Rider
The TY-E 2.2 put on dynamic stage performances at the Japan Mobility Show.
Kazuya Azegami is a young electronics engineer highly praised by the TY-E development team for all the contributions he has made to the project.
Kazuya Azegami works in the Control System Development Division at Yamaha Motor and played a major role in the progress achieved by the TY-E 2.2, the latest version of the bike. The development team sings praises of the young engineer for his contributions to the bike's evolution thanks to his insatiable inquisitive spirit and persistence when programming, things that brought massive improvements with the TY-E's electronics.
"Honestly, I think Kuroyama must have been nervous as well!" he confesses. Not only did Azegami not have any experience in trials, but he also does not even have a motorcycle license. Instead, what he brought to the table was his expertise in electronics for controlling power output, a fierce level of focus, and ample passion for tackling things head on. "Though Kuroyama would give me plenty of feedback during tests, I couldn't understand the kind of operations or behavior that it pointed to whatsoever."
However, by overlaying Kuroyama's words with the treasure trove of data from the tests, he formed a hypothesis and devised a number of countermeasures according to it, a move that proved valuable as they led to significant improvements to the TY-E's competitiveness.
"My goal is to reach a point where the electronics let Kuroyama feel that the bike is an extension of his body," claims Azegami, still looking for greater gains. His determination will surely help in achieving the project's goal of delivering more fun and performance than current internal combustion engines do.
Thanks to Azegami (second from right) and the rest of the team, the TY-E 2.2 grew more competitive throughout the season.
Message from the Editor
In trials competitions, courses are set up over rugged terrain such as mountains and valleys, and entrants compete to see who can navigate the course losing as few points as possible. Cruising range is still an issue for many EVs and while they have yet to become as commonplace as tried-and-true internal combustion engines, the TY-E's development story did help me realize that electrics could establish a strong presence in the environment of trials competition. Since the emphasis is more on riding techniques and precision, I can see how electric models, which can exercise a greater degree of control over power output, have the potential to outperform their ICE counterparts.
Azegami joined the project in 2022, working to develop the TY-E 2.2. Working closely together with Kuroyama and the rest of the development team, he contributed to improving the bike's competitiveness. The program for the bike's electronics system that was so carefully tried and tested for usability was even christened as the "Aze Map" by the team. Azegami himself, however, spoke more about the room for improvement with the electronics regarding the bike's showing in the 2023 All Japan season, believing "there's things I should have done better." I felt that this tireless curiosity and desire for improvements among Yamaha Motor's engineers is a big part of what leads our company's products to evolve.
TOKUTOME, Yayoi■Contact us from the Press
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