We’ve been following Curtiss Motorcycle’s transformation from a boutique cruiser manufacturer (old name: Confederate) into a boutique, cutting-edge electric motorcycle manufacturer for months now.
Curtiss has the same challenge that’s facing all the new electric bikes on the market (of which there are an ever-increasing number.)
That’s the battery, which is the equivalent of the gas tank. Size equals range. A 150-mile range is just fine for a little electric bike that lives in the city and can plug in every night. But anyone interested in distance cruising (and the promise of big, expensive cruisers is the freedom of the road) needs more miles per charge than a couple of hundred miles.
Which is what makes Curtiss’ new partnership so interesting.
They’ve signed a deal with Saint Jean Carbon Inc. with the goal of developing battery, motor, and powertrain technology, plus related services. St Jean Inc. claim to own significant natural graphite resources. They’re using those resources to develop graphene. For our purposes, graphene is a superconductor which could–someday–enormously increase the efficiency of electric cells. And efficiency means range.
St. Jean have been working on using graphite in lithium-ion batteries for decade. Now their goal is to develop a proprietary method for the “low-cost, rapid and continuous” production of graphene.
If this deal pays off the way Curtiss and St. Jean hope it will, it could transform the battery business. And if that happens, it could catapult Curtiss into a super-performer electric bike, albeit at super-high boutique prices.
But that’s all in the future. St. Jean are far from being the only company (or research center) that’s trying to develop the production of graphene. What they’re betting on is that they have an edge with their access to natural graphite resources.
This is definitely one of those stories worth keeping an eye on. Problem is, nobody can say for how long.