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. 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.

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, Nissan Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp each have joint ventures to develop lithium-ion batteries for car use with Matsushita Electric Industrial, NEC Corp group and GS Yuasa Corp, respectively.