Lightning Strike

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by voltsxamps, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Annhl8rX

    Annhl8rX Adventurer

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    I get that the fairings improve aero to help with range and top speed, but I really hope their next venture will be a naked, or at least more upright version. Us tall folk have a hard time folding up into sport bike position.
    #61
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  2. T.S.Zarathustra

    T.S.Zarathustra Been here awhile

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    That's the Carbon edition. Not "difference between Standard and Mid Range".
    #62
  3. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    Here is a short comparison between the Lightning Strike and the Energica Ego. Bottom line: Ego cost more but you get a lot more electronics than on the Strike. Whether or not the extra cash is worth it depends on how badly you want/need the electronics that the Ego offers.


    upload_2019-3-29_19-4-8.png
    #63
  4. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    So it is now several days after Lightning's big reveal of the Strike. But if you go to Lightning's web site it is really tough to find the details on the Strike. You would think it would be front and center but it isn't. I found the details on the Strike by clicking on the link for "About" and then clicking on "News" and then you see the article on the Strike reveal. There are no photos of the Strike there, only computerized images of what Lightning claims the bike will look like. Even under the "Community" link where the "Photos" link is there is nothing on the Strike, only the LS-218. If this bike is really going into production in July you would think there would be a production ready version out there. There is no doubt that action photos of riders having a great time on the Strike would help sell the bike and convince riders to put down a down payment on one of them. This really looks like a lot of smoke and mirrors. I hope I am wrong. Lightning sure got the motorcycle world excited with a few details of the Strike. But days after the reveal the details are still buried deep on the web site instead of being front/center and no actual photos of the bike has increased my skepticism. Time will tell.
    #64
  5. dwenglis

    dwenglis Been here awhile

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    I didn’t realize the ego was over 600lbs!!!
    #65
  6. kiwial

    kiwial Allweatherrider

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    Quotes:
    -...how do they get an additional 5 kWh of energy to weigh only an additional 10 lbs?
    -On a Zero SR, the Power Tank option adds (IIRC) 42 lbs. for only 3.6 kWh.-
    -Throughout the entire tease, not one word has been mentioned about dealers. It's an issue that will make or break the success of the Strike. What's up, Lightning? Electrek says now first deliveries are in July. Are you still lining up dealers?
    -Looks like Lightning is employing the “indiegogo” template. Take people’s money without them really knowing what they are buying. All this from a boutique startup with no track record...not even a dealer network.
    -USD 10.000 deposit for Carbon version.
    -Rider Aids?
    -From the CN article linked yesterday they say 90kW @ 15krpm peak. Thats only 57Nm. To make the claimed 95Nm @ 15krpm would take 150kW(200hp).
    -The Strike Carbon Edition has a much larger battery than the Energica Ego yet weighs 145 pounds less. Really curious how they did that."- End of quotes.
    .
    Something smells fishy.
    .
    #66
  7. BDO

    BDO Been here awhile

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    Perhaps all bikes have the larger battery but only the highest model has it unlocked to give the additional range??

    Tesla did this for a while allowing customers to pay to ‘unlock’ the additional range.
    #67
  8. kiwial

    kiwial Allweatherrider

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    Then the Standard and Mid- Range would be the same weight and the Carbon version would be lighter.
    #68
  9. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    What you seem to be talking about is a common and reasonable practice in software applications. No one is going to install thousands of dollars of batteries that aren't used.
    #69
  10. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    I share your concern and have emailed Lightning about it. I also asked about when magazine ride reports can be expected. No response yet.

    No one really knows what's going on. My gut tells me there is a reasonable possibility that the bike is essentially what they have promised, but being a tiny* boutique builder (only having built ~40 LS-218s over several years) and jumping into full production at multiple locations has them stretched pretty thin. Even if they have venture capital providing the cash to make things happen, just staffing up and getting everyone up-to-speed is a monumental task, never mind actually getting stuff done. It's no wonder that the website is an afterthought. It's harder to accept that they have no one functioning as a spokesperson to keep the public informed, which just leads to concerns like those you raised. And let's face it - you and I are being fairly reasonable and open-minded, but others will soon be screaming it's all a scam and a fraud.

    Seems to me like they're a tiny company where the principals are tech guys and have that side pretty much buttoned down. But they suck at the business side - and the major leap in capability they're working through right now depends heavily on getting the business side right.

    I don't have a deposit down, so I'm fairly comfortable giving them the benefit of the doubt and waiting to see what happens. But seriously, no matter what problems they're working through, the biggest danger is their silence. They need to fix that fast.

    * Let's put some perspective on "tiny." MV Agusta could be considered tiny, but they sold nearly 9000 bikes worldwide in 2015. We recently learned that Zero, the world's largest EM manufacturer, sold something like 750 bikes in the US last year. THAT is tiny. So Lightning, with only 40 LS-218s sold over several years, is microscopic. With no real production history at all yet, and pricing on a new model that demands strong production levels, they are gearing up to shoot way past "tiny." Needless to say they have their hands more than full. Must be hell.
    #70
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  11. _mtg_

    _mtg_ Been here awhile

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    ^^ Agree, going from building 40 boutique superbikes over a couple years to production out of two factories on opposite sides of the planet is similar to the difference between flying a Cessna over a corn field vs flying a rocket to the moon. It's going to take a minute to get everything sorted, even with decent funding.
    #71
  12. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Sorry to take so long to come back to this, but another discussion got me thinking about how controllers work and a possible explanation for the disconnect you describe.

    First off, I read elsewhere that the CN article was actually from a test ride in 2016 and lots has changed since then. The official specs are now 180 ft*lbs of torque (well over double what CN claimed), but not specified at an rpm, 15k or otherwise.

    <speculation>
    Lightning already has their own AC motor design and matching controller in the LS-218, which puts out 200 hp and 168 ft*lbs, feeding from a 380 VDC pack. Let's assume they put that motor (or a very similar design) in the Strike, along with a pack with only half the voltage (which doubles the current capability for the same kWh), and mix that in with a controller that is similar but has half the voltage ceiling (saving some money on power transistors) but with the same or better current limit.

    A controller's output power is the pack voltage times the whatever current the controller allows to be drawn from the pack. (Its output current limit may actually be several times higher than that, but obviously output power cannot exceed input. Power = Volts X Amps.) When the vehicle is starting out, big torque is needed; so the controller re-shuffles the pack's power to produce high amps at low voltage at the motor. The motor doesn't care about low voltage at low rpm. The only thing that will create the torque needed is amps. So the controller delivers amps. If we assume the max hp figures are at 15k rpm (Lightning does not specify), that would mean the 180 ft*lbs. peak drops to 31.5 and 42.0 ft*lbs for the Standard/Mid and Carbon, respectively, at 15k rpm. It's kind of irrelevant, because at high speeds you're looking for power regardless of how you get it - from high torque at low rpm or low torque at high rpm. It's the two multiplied together.

    We also don't know where the 180 peak is or what the profile looks like. The CN article mentioned tweaking the ramps and/or what read like a speed/torque profile to make the low-end torque manageable, and in that article they were talking about only 69 ft*lbs. max. At 18o, without such measures, the thing would be damn-near unrideable. (It would be like trying to water the petunias in your garden with a fire hose - it can be done, but be Very Careful with the nozzle or you won't like the results. At some point damage will be done.)

    So we don't know what the artificial, software-imposed profile looks like at lower speeds, or when the software steps out of the way to let the full 180 ft*lbs. loose. Or when it starts tapering off at higher speeds.
    </speculation>

    I only know enough about DC controllers to be dangerous, and AC is a different animal. Anyone care to comment if I'm mostly on track with this speculation?
    #72
  13. RedRocket

    RedRocket Yeah! I want Cheesy Poofs

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    In the recent ride report by Alan Cathcart the bike he had was a total prototype with all CNC milled frame pieces, I'm sure they don't yet have a production-style frame ready yet.
    #73
  14. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    I can appreciate all the electrical gadgetry being hyped but what I'd really like to see is physical specs. Seat height, weight, tire sizes, wheel base, etc.

    I also wish they had a real bike to look at. I agree with others in that flashy renderings are nice but what about the actual product.

    I just might be stupid enough to drop 20k on one of these but right now the Esse Esse 9 is essentially the same price and readily available. I'll also add the ss9 comes with some sweet upgrades and accessories. Again, already available.
    #74
  15. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    https://electrek.co/2019/05/01/lightning-strike-electric-motorcycle-production/

    Production Strikes have emerged. Anyone seen a ride report?

    ***EDIT***

    Y'know, I really want to remain excited about this bike, but the near-total silence from Lightning is disheartening. This is the first word in over a month, it includes virtually no new information and there are lots of Very Important Questions yet to be answered. If they're building production bikes now, they've had a few pre-production bikes for a few months now. But still no hint of a ride review in the media.

    And a new question just got added: If that's a picture of several apparently-near-complete Strikes on a production line in an article dated 5/1, why do deliveries not start until July? Could it be these aren't production bikes at all, but the pre-production run instead?

    This is not how you generate buzz.
    #75
  16. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    ctromley, I agree. But the kind of information that everyone else is hoping to see on the Strike doesn't exist for the LS-218 and that has been around for several years. The fact that Lightning has no dealers is going to limit sales from the beginning. If Lightning thinks they can be like Tesla and do direct sales then they better know precisely why direct sales didn't work for Zero and how they can avoid those mistakes. But at least Tesla has service centers in many locations for owners who live far away from Freemont, CA. Building a dealer network isn't easy and it takes time. Look at Energica as an example. Building a dealer network should have started as soon as they made the decision to put the Strike into production. There are now several dealers who carry both Zero and Energica and I am sure they would consider selling Lightning under the right conditions. But as you said, the near total silence from Lightning is disheartening and I am not optimistic about the Strike making the big splash that we all were hoping it would.
    #76
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  17. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    I do see a ray of hope. It is plausible that Lightning has killer engineering capabilities, but they absolutely suck at marketing. Not only do they not do well at it, they don't even recognize its value. It is also possible that they care, but focus their funds and time on more important matters. (Though the scale of their operation suggests VC is involved, and VC would know better.)

    Example: The video that accompanied the debut (which I only saw at Electrek) was shockingly amateurish, looking like two guys who just got their first GoPro did the whole thing - from conception through shooting to editing - in a single afternoon. Every moment of it screams "unprofessional." No one with an eye for such things would have let that out.

    The question of whether that photo in the latest Electrek piece is of production or pre-production bikes has me wondering how many test miles have been done on a bike that is supposed to land in buyers' hands 2 - 3 months from now. Anyone seriously involved in EVs knows what it means to be an early adopter. That's different from being an unwitting beta-tester for a product that's supposed to be extensively developed, tested and properly cleared for release.

    A company that understands the value of marketing and messaging does not allow their customer base - or their competition - to wonder such things.

    Or it could be that Lightning fully recognizes my concerns and many more, and they are fully focused on swinging for the fences with very limited resources. Maybe they are banking on sound engineering eventually carrying the day, and they're willing to accept an apparently clueless handling of the period between debut and first shipments. If they know their stuff, and they probably do, they could be prepared to wait until the bike is reviewed by others to get the buzz machine really started. That might be the start of when they make a major push for dealers. (As a dealer, would you sign up to lay out the cash to carry vaporware?) In short, maybe they're OK with a slow start and the strength of the product will ultimately lead them to success. Maybe getting a clue about marketing, dealer relations, etc. will come later.

    I'm mostly fine with that, because I can handle an EM even if it has no dealer support. For me, the major concerns are 1) a warranty claim, which could be a major pain for me depending on how Lightning plans to handle such things, and 2) a product recall. I suspect Lightning has never been faced with a product recall, so they have no idea how that can turn their entire operation upside-down and shake it hard. Not having a sufficient dealer network to help manage it could easily make such an event fatal for Lightning, unless they have a realistic workaround.

    I'm not on-board until I get very specific, detailed answers to those two concerns. I've emailed them directly asking for answers, but I did that in January and got no response. I'll report back if I hear anything this time.

    Come on, Lightning - there are some things you NEED to talk about. Even engineering wonks know that.

    ***EDIT***

    Well I got a very rapid response this time, but I can't say it was very satisfying:

    "We are going to announce our dealer network later this year. The dealers will provide the operational and safety brief when the bike is picked up and provide any warranty or service if required."

    This means there is no guarantee that you will have reasonable dealer coverage for warranty or recall issues if you have your bike shipped direct to you. Waiting as long as half a year after first bikes have shipped to announce the dealer list suggests my suspicion was correct - that no one wants to sign on as a dealer until there is sufficient interest. And even when the list is announced you still may not have a dealer that's convenient. Seems to me that makes it even more important that they get the buzz machine primed and ready, with ride reports from major outlets already circulating, when first shipments start. If they actually do understand the need for marketing and how to use it, that's the time to show it.

    This means first adopters for the Strike will be flying naked for awhile. Maybe it makes sense to talk up your nearby Zero dealer if you're interested in a Strike. Both to see if they'd be interested in doing minor service, and also if they might become a dealer.

    I think this also means there will be a lot of potential Strike buyers who will hold back until things settle out and look more stable. I hope Lightning is ready for that.
    #77
  18. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    ctromley, I actually did ask my Zero/Energica dealer if they had any interest in Lightning and there wasn't. All of the issues you and others have here with the Strike they had also. Lightning should be promoting their dealers and their bikes now to help generate interest and sales as production ramps up. My interpretation of the response you got about dealers is they don't have any and don't want to admit that.
    #78
  19. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    We're on exactly the same page. Sorry if I wasn't clear. You're corroborating my suspicion that building a dealer network will begin after the Strike starts shipping and shows some real promise. It better be good, because that's a pretty risky chicken-and-egg scenario there. A 'meh' release means dealers stay away in droves, and a possibly stellar EM goes nowhere.

    I'll say it again - they need to get some marketing horsepower on board and start using it. Get some bikes in the hands of reviewers! And start thinking of contingency plans, should dealers stay away. I've offered alternatives to dealers before - alternatives that can be quite effective for less hassle and with better control of your sales. Once established such an approach could even be more profitable.

    Bottom line, it looks like months (possibly years, depending on how this plays out) before the Strike becomes a normal-risk purchase for most potential buyers. I hope I'm wrong, or if I'm right that Lightning has planned for it. My gut still tells me that the bike itself will be the best choice out there for lots of EM riders.
    #79
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  20. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    I've had interest in an EM for a while now and I, for one, am a potential buyer who will definitely be waiting to see how a Lightning dealer network pans out. Though the bike looks very promising, I don't want to be stuck without dealer support for possible warranty issues, recalls, upgrades, etc., or one day be stuck with a worthless used bike no one would ever want to buy because no dealer support network exists.
    #80