Any guesses on when it will be possible to take an Electric motorcycle on adventure travel?

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by ridego, May 28, 2018.

  1. ridego

    ridego Adventurer

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    Long distances between charges through remote areas possibly (likely, for now) without charging stations. Is charging in the wild/while camping possible at all?
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  2. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    Possible? kinda. Practical? not yet.



    One possibility is using a panel large enough to recharge as seen in the video above, though would be burdensome to travel with and require a considerable amount of time to recharge.

    More compact panels are currently available but are unlikely to meet your bike’s minimum amperage requirements: https://www.lifewire.com/best-portable-solar-chargers-4149830 For portable solar to be a viable charging source, solar efficiencies must significantly increase from where we currently are.

    Meanwhile, organizations like Electrify America are actively deploying EV chargers across all major urban areas, paving the way towards charging stations eventually reaching rural areas once urban areas have reached saturation.
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  3. FR700

    FR700 Heckler ™©®℗

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    Sidecar with a small generator could be one possibility.




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  4. Hellequin

    Hellequin Been here awhile

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    My guess, in the short term at least, it will be a case of resetting expectations to what is achievable within the limits of the vehicles.

    Shorter stages, longer stops, limited to where there is power.

    There is a huge push to phasing out combustion engines, with some countries commencing in 2025. That's soon!

    Adventure motorcycling may become a casualty of this change. Of course the existing petrol powered bikes could still be used, however whether it remains cost effective is yet to be seen. Oil and fuel price increases may make buring the stuff for fun a thing of the past.

    In short - enjoy it while we can!
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  5. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    The motor and battery side of the equation are currently out ahead of the charging side. So until that catches up, it's going to be essentially a no-go.

    BUT...that is changing, and it interesting and even odd ways. Solar charging paint for example. It does exist, though I've no idea about its charging rate. Anyhow, if the bike was painted with something that allowed recharging throughout the day, that's a huge game changer.

    I also agree that there's going to have to be a readjustment of travel expectations with an electric bike. Be it more willingness to take charging breaks, accepting that really lousy days mean no riding, and probably the cessation of night riding. Though all that could change as well.
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  6. ridego

    ridego Adventurer

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    It seems though that there is not enough surface on a bike to provide any meaningful charging capacity, not until cell efficiency improves drastically. W.r.t. charging, would it be possible to charge an electric bike from any standard socket so that any small town with electricity will do or does it require a special charger that will probably only be found in bigger cities and towns for the foreseeable future?
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  7. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    AFAIK, it is standard plugs. There is variance between different nations though.
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  8. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

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    Today. Some magazine I subscribe to has had a series of articles about a rider on a zero following some 1900s early motorcycle cross country trip. He obviously wasnt doing 1000 mile days but most of the reports here arent long days either. He didnt have the best of charging equipment either. That said, my adventure travels require more miles per day (work trips) so EV moto isnt currently an option but I wish it was.
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  9. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    Just to clarify, plugs are a fairly easy challenge. Turns out voltage is a pretty easy challenge too, since the vast majority of charging equipment (not all) is of the Switch Mode Power Supply or 'universal input' type. If you look at the power brick for your laptop you'll find it takes something like 90 - 265 VAC at 50 - 60 Hz. That covers probably 99+% of the power you'll find anywhere. Adapter plugs are easy at the mains side, and make this power accessible. You already have what you need on the vehicle side. J1772 is becoming a pretty global standard.

    A bigger challenge is matching your charging equipment with what current the outlet can provide. A wimpy 3 kW or so charger can probably be plugged in anywhere (assuming nothing else is drawing from that circuit), but anything bigger drawing from a 120 VAC line is going to be a problem if you can't dial it back. Like anything else, draw too much and you'll be popping breakers, fuses or wires(!!) in no time. That won't make you any friends. (Backwoods power can be pretty sketchy - assume nothing.)

    So any manufacturer attempting to make a true adventure-friendly electric ADV needs to include some adjustment for power draw in the on-board charger. Also, universal input chargers can theoretically accept DC too. But in practice there need to be some internal accommodations to make that happen. So do that too, in case your intrepid e-ADV wandering customer only has a remote solar array to charge from....
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  10. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Yeah, the plugs are easily handled. Finding an outlet to plug into though... Especially if out being adventurous.
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  11. RCmoto

    RCmoto Long timer

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    Agree. 2020 would be nice, but by 2025 they will be mainstream with all major brands having a presence.
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  12. Hellequin

    Hellequin Been here awhile

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    Another comsideration will be the bikes themselves. There are already some pretty good efforts out there, but nothing like the lightweight adventure bikes people on here crave.

    I guess for a while, any electric bike with decent range will weigh a fair amount to allow a decent battery capacity. Not a problem for a road bike but no good for trails!
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  13. Hellequin

    Hellequin Been here awhile

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    Interesting times ahead, I am looking forward to see how this plays out. I have to say, I like the idea of a torquey, quiet bike that is cheap to run and needs almost no servicing.
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  14. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    Good point about weight. Which raises the same old argument about ADV bikes that was raging when they first became popular - are today's ADV bikes built for adventure, or as everyday 2-wheel SUVs that never see anything even remotely adventurous? I'm not an ADV rider, but the line from that controversy that sticks with me is that a DR650 is a better adventure bike than anything that's called an adventure bike. And it sounds like the adventure usage we're talking about here skews heavily toward DR650 territory rather than where you're likely to find yourself on an R 1200 GS.

    But I disagree with your assumption that long range is only possible on a porker of a bike. The trend toward more bicycle-like EMs should pay big dividends for the ADV market, or shall we say the real ADV market. Two-wheel e-SUVs can plug in anywhere sport bikes, tourers and commuters plug in. The more adventurous among us will absolutely love the extreme light weight of an e-ADV, even one that has 200 mile range.

    I cannot emphasize this enough - it is truly astounding how low mass reduces the need for a huge pack, so the total weight of a bike like this would be nowhere near what many here might expect. A 200 mile e-ADV could weigh in at 250 - 300 pounds. The only caveat is that real adventure riding dishes up a much wider variety of demands, so your mileage will certainly vary. By a lot, depending on where and how fast you're riding. Which also means that if you're low on juice you can extend your range a lot by riding slower.

    And an additional bonus is that while you're droning down the highway on your real-adventure e-ADV, the ride is glass-smooth - unlike on a DR650.
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  15. ex250mike

    ex250mike Long timer

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    Forget solar, the math doesn't even come close to working. We need a "Mr. Fusion." Until then we'll be chasing outlets.

    Best case scenario range becomes good enough to "ADV" near population centers and major highways. Maybe even most of the east coast. Trips into banjo territory are probably somewhat doable now with good planning. The desert SW, Montana, ND, SD, parts of Canada not so much.
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  16. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    If you're talking about carrying solar with you, you are correct. But there are off-grid sources available. An off-grid solar installation only needs enough panels to meet the average demand (plus a little headroom), and enough storage to meet peak demand. And solar is getting more popular globally. So if you come across a friendly outpost with a large enough battery bank to charge you up and enough left over to cover the host through a refill, you're good to go.

    Wouldn't it be interesting to install solar recharging stations maybe 50 - 100 miles apart on the TAT?

    A more urban version of this is parking spaces with a solar roof and battery storage. The space isn't always charging a vehicle, and the typical car or bike that parks there only needs a top-off, not a full recharge. So the math works fine for that application.

    For someone who does day rides and trailers their bikes to a riding area, the solar panels and battery bank could ride on the trailer.

    You need to use the math to make sure the application works.
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  17. ridego

    ridego Adventurer

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    What about a variety of these foldable solar panels optimized for adventure riding?
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  18. Hellequin

    Hellequin Been here awhile

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    Could make jackets out of them them to charge whilst riding! :rofl:rofl:rofl
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  19. Hellequin

    Hellequin Been here awhile

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    I was just looking at what is available today.

    A Zero DSR with the largest battery and power tank weighs 210kgs (463lbs) and has a highway range of under 100 miles (about 200 city).

    Atla's Enduro model is good for about 60 city miles (as per their FAQ section). Weight is 275lbs.

    KTM's website says their E-XC can be ridden for about 1.5 hours per charge.

    I have no idea how these figures are attained, possibly with a 50kg rider wearing lycra to reduce drag! A 100+kg rider with motorcycle gear would probably see less range than published, at a guess.
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  20. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer Supporter

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    Portable solar can recharge your phone just fine, but for motoring I think is pie in the sky with current or near future tech.

    Consider this, if my calculations are correct:
    A US wall outlet puts out up to 1500 Watts, which takes all night to recharge a Zero, which in turn is good for about 150 miles of easy going riding.
    Even that modest goal would be hard to meet with portable solar panels:
    A typical 1.5 sq. meter solar panel produces 300w, which means 7.5 square meters of solar panel just to match one wall outlet. A more expensive commercial panel can put out 400w, so down to a bit less than 6 square meters. But more practically, if you want to recharge your Zero in 2 hours at midday, you would need 5 times that.

    Commercially available solar panels convert about 25% of the solar energy into electricity. Current cutting edge is in the mid 40s. Even if efficiency was magically raised to 90%, it would still require many square meters to keep an electric motorcycle moving.
    ----------
    Regarding range, consensus among Zero owners is that Zero's current estimates are accurate for a normal size rider riding normally. Unless it's mid 50s or cooler, which reduces range. Li ion batteries are divas. Something radically different may be needed for electric to become truly mainstream.
    #20