Thoughts on Electric Motorcycles?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Designer Jake, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. tallpaul63

    tallpaul63 Been here awhile

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    I read the criticisms of the new technology, and I think that they are valid, but short sighted. Electric vehicles have tremendous potential, and it's fun to see something new in the world. It's kinda like seeing your kid play sports- you don't compare him to pro athletes, but you enthuse over his development, and and ponder his future.

    One thing that's cool: a silent trail bike can open lots of urban riding locations because you're not pissing off the neighbors with the two stroke racket. For an hour or two of local fun, these bikes are really attractive...but the price needs to come down a bit.

    When the commuter bikes can reliably go 100 miles on a charge and cost maybe 8k, they'll start selling well. They'll be great for beating traffic in crowded inner cities, silent, non polluting and nimble. For now, companies like Zero and Brammo need to garner some fleet sales from the likes of police departments or the postal service in order to survive. I look forward to seeing the state of the art in five years!
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  2. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    Electric vehicles are not new, they have been around just as long as IC vehicles, and have been in constant use for over a century. Fork lifts, plant vehicles, golf carts, and others vehicles that work well within their limitations.
    Electric vehicles have been evolving over that time and are enjoying a renewed popularity, but like in the past, if the promised and predicted advances in technologies that don't actually exist don't happen, they will fade away again when reality sets in.

    Whats old is new again, 1899 Columbia
    [​IMG]
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  3. dmcd

    dmcd Been here awhile

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    Your bicyclist will also beat a motorcycle in your theoretical four lap race.
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  4. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    yup, great value for the short - medium trip commuter, especially if you can plug in on each end

    Only 2 things I need to see before I go EV

    #1 resupplying energy needs to be as quick as filling a tank of gasoline at the pump
    could easily be done if EVs were designed to accept a standard auxillary energy pack, independent of your core batteries, swap out discharged energy packs for charged ones like you do with Blue Rhino propane tanks

    #2 how they perform thru several days straight of -25°F
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  5. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Long timer

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    I am pretty excited about the potential for electric motorcycles. I realize fossil fuels will probably never go away entirely, but just one look at a refinery.... yuck. Then as someone else mentioned, you have to deal with used oil, anti-freeze, etc. I love the sound and feel of my V-twin, but the idea of an almost completely silent bike is appealing as well, especially for off road use. Consider a wildlife management area, where motorized vehicles are not allowed - because of the noise - but if the noise was gone??? Maybe those areas could be opened up to electric vehicles. It sure would make it a lot easier to do some bird watching. Or go on a picnic....

    There seems to be a lot of progress being made pretty quickly. As of right now, I think the range is too low, performance is too low, and price is too high. They are getting there though, and if I had a shorter commute, I would seriously consider becoming an "early adopter".
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  6. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

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    Um, what? Tell me how that works? The motorcycle can do 2 laps on a tank of fuel, and refuel in less than a minute. The bicyclist isn't going to catch up in that minute. The electric bike will ride like hell for about 20 minutes, and then recharge for 2 hours or more. The bicyclist will make up a lot, if not all, of the lost ground then. Do they not teach basic math in school anymore?

    PhilB
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  7. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    Don't the Motoczysz (sp?) bikes have quick-swap battery packs?
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  8. dmcd

    dmcd Been here awhile

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    Ok, personal insults about the standard of my education aside........., and continuing the strange debate about racing bicyclists (cool word) against motorbicyclists (I made that up), if you are going to allow the conventional bike to refuel with petroleum which is simply stored energy, then you must, as Yossarian said, allow the electric bike a new battery.
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  9. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

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    That would make them a lot more capable for a race, and maybe that would be a good next step -- make it a 4-lap race with battery swaps.

    Won't make the basic problem go away with regard to real-life usefulness, though. Until they solve energy density and "refueling" time problems to about 10 times better than today, they will remain a niche product. And, while batteries are slowly getting better, they cannot get that much better. Batteries are a dead end technology.

    As noted above, that would help in the race, although it doesn't relate to the energy storage problems in real life, as it isn't in any way practical to carry extra bettery packs, or to stage them along your journeys any time you want to go out of the county you live in, etc.

    And you still didn't explain how a bicyclist would beat a motorcycle in the TT race. Of course the motorcycle is allowed to refuel; that's normal and practical practice. New battery packs would be the equivalent of not just putting gas in, but having to replace the gas tank every time you ran out of gas. That would make motorcycles a lot less practical.

    PhilB
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  10. dmcd

    dmcd Been here awhile

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    Yeah ok, new tank for a new battery seems like a fair comparison. I only chipped in with the video about the TT because I was there when they first raced in 2010, and it was a bit of a joke. But, by 2012 they were starting to raise eyebrows with the 104mph lap. The advances with only 3 years development, were in my opinion amazing.

    The race is actually called the TT Zero, for zero emission bikes, which should in time allow Hydrogen power etc. I think the whole electric/rechargable thing will die out once Hydrogen power is developed. But I have been wrong before:wink:.
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  11. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    What if there was an infrastructure to swap battery packs and they were drop out/plug in style. It'd certainly be easier on a car but it seems like a lot of the naysayers are being rather short sighted here.

    queue the comments about how electric vehicles have emissions because the power plants do. yawn.
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  12. the_sandman_454

    the_sandman_454 Been here awhile

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    Interesting concept, though not terribly useful. If they made it a hybrid with a small gas engine to recharge on the go, or a hydrogen fuel cell, it would be very cool. An electric vehicle without a means to recharge as quickly as filling a gas or hydrogen tank is useless to me. I don't always want to take the short way home, and with gasoline power, I don't have to worry so much about range due to the availability of gas stations.
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  13. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    I recall a concept hybrid motorcycle, electric/diesel 125cc it could go 80mph and get 170 mpg iirc
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  14. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    No doubt, they made some very significant developments in a short period of time. I cannot help but hope that the pace of development continues to be high, but my optimism is guarded.
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  15. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    Maybe someday we will see some "Rotojuice" packs that don't weigh much and cost much and can be quick x-change. Until then "adventure electric bike" is a contradiction in terms! In terms of OR use that electric would likely act a lot like a bike with a Rekluse on it I think. I believe these problems will be solved by smart electrical engineers and e-cars will also benefit.
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  16. KungPaoDog

    KungPaoDog Been here awhile

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    3 words: Young technology; run.

    I like the idea of a different type of engine/means of propulsion just for the cool factor, but I'm not the early adopter type with ten to fifteen grand to throw at a new toy. Bless you buyers of first-gen e-bikes, because there will be significant improvements with time.

    The biggest draw backs are obvious; until electric bikes have alternate refueling methods, they won't be mainstream. This is one great solution to e-vehicles (Israel's swappable battery cars), and capacitors make a lot of sense compared to batteries.

    A truly successful and useful electric-only vehicle will have internals that are nothing like what can be purchased today.
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  17. jfurf

    jfurf Been here awhile

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    It's hilarious to me how uncreative people are about imagining the future. Yes, we'll obviously NEVER have practical electric motorcycles because of the current limitations of existing e-bikes and our infrastructure. :norton

    I don't envision e-bikes replacing ICE bikes for long-distance riding but I imagine that inexpensive (to own AND operate) electric motos will be VERY useful to urban commuters all over the world. Once governments and the greater public start realizing the advantages of them, they will lose the association with "biker culture" and start being viewed the way carpooling and small 50cc scooters and bicycle lanes are -- just ways to reduce traffic congestion, smog, noise pollution and lack of parking space. The advantages of them are just impossible to ignore.
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  18. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    I just don't see this technology taking off in the US anytime soon. The big polluted Chinese cities have millions of electric scooters today. That makes perfect sense. The battery gets you to/from work and you carry it up to your apartment to charge at night. Someone can make their fortune with these over there as a step up in performance.

    But what US motorcycle segment wants them?
    Harley riders? don't think so
    Dual-sport or adventure riders: not enough range, don't want to be left in the woods
    GoldWing see-the-US types? range and payload issues
    Sport bikers?

    Perhaps that would be a good angle. Leverage the massive torque and the Isle of Man thing to make a great sport bike. I don't think range is a major concern for these guys. But now you have to compete with a BMW S1000RR at $14 grand. It would be tough to get the motor/battery/weight equation right at that price.

    I wouldn't bet my life savings investing with these guys.
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  19. fallingoff

    fallingoff Banned

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    my brother law in the states about 10 years ago

    he is a scientst

    was starting a company

    where you pull up at a gas st

    and changed ur electrolite

    ie pump in and out with the old

    just a thought
    #59
  20. mtnbikeboy

    mtnbikeboy Been here awhile

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    3 Words: Smiles, range, price.

    My budget for my next bike is in the $4k range for a used bike. At this time I can't justify $8k on a bike, let alone 14. Beyond that, I believe that -to beat a dead horse- storage density is the only major drawback. All the other technologies are in place.
    I work in manufacturing where we build large (38-80T) front end loaders for surface mining applications. These are driven using 4 600 HP Switched Reluctance motors powered by a diesel generator. These can be tuned for max torque at 0 RPM (just like DC brushless). I'm sure some ebike engineers are exploring these for their application.

    I believe capacitors are the answer to the energy storage question. Right now they are cost prohibitive (~$1500 for 150F @ 48V). I am very interested to see where the technology in this video goes in the next few years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtM6XJlynkk

    If those graphene supercaps can be reliably scaled up to the size needed for bikes & cars for a low cost, I believe a transportation revolution will not be far behind.
    I also would be in favor of either a hydrogen or CNG motorcycle.
    #60