The Alta Thread

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by swamp, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Lutz

    Lutz Fuzzy Rabbit

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    Marc Feningstein [sic] posted up on the Alta Owners forum apologizing for the ambiguous news, and saying they might be able to share more next week. I really don’t think this is curtains for the company, just a phase.
  2. Lotta Throttle

    Lotta Throttle Been here awhile

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    Dang, here i was hopingt another year of R&D would bring a longer battery life and now this news hits!
    For a technology company Alta sure is silent on their website about this news . https://www.altamotors.co/?referral=9368d806#the-future-of-fast

    Maybe someone will buy the battery technology and move Alta far, far away from SF to a lower tax/less govt over-reach state and give it another go. The cynic in me wouldn't put it past one of the Big 6 to wait for Alta to declare insolvency and then swoop in and buy any patents and technology for pennies on the dollar only to ensure they are never used again. Lot of $$ already sunk in gas motor production/maintenance. Heck, how long did it take to get e-start on Japanese bikes?
    It seemed like Alta never got enough support from the AMA & various promoter folks that could have helped Alta progress into a mainstream competitor.
    MotoMinded likes this.
  3. miksu

    miksu Been here awhile

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    The alta battery is most likely made by a third party or if it isn't shame on the company as there is very little "tech" inside that pack, it is just off the shelf cells in epoxy filled modules. I suspect the rest of their tech is bought as well so there is very little what other companies would be interested of, instead of just going straight to the real contractors who make electric powetrains.

    Someone hinted them being bough out which of course is possibility but I doubt that. Also comparing alta and zero, I think alta is technically far more advanced, which hints to real professional players behind the technology as it is far more professional than zero's makeshift. But at least zero has their tech in their own hands so they can control the costs and they are doing much better.

    But the alta bikes looked and apparently rode pretty sweet! The good thing is that building one like that is not exactly hard, the bad thing is that it will still be very expensive. For example high rpm, high performance low weight electric motors and controllers are still unobtainium outside few tech companies who make them. Nothing wrong with that, if you are serious enough you can buy them, but costs are totally impossible by mass production standards. Zero for example uses far cheaper and more primitive technology.
  4. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Uh, are you sure?

    If true, I would have big second thoughts about buying an Alta. Pack failures are frequently one bad cell. If they're potted in epoxy that's a pretty big barrier to an easy and cheap repair. If potting is at the module level, how many cells in a module? That kind of construction just begs for someone to clone the module boards (assuming a module includes a BMS board) and build up modules so you can repair them. (They can be just as reliable as what Alta is doing, they just aren't as low cost in production as potting them.) But Alta hasn't been around long enough for anyone to have done that yet?

    Details, please. What, exactly, does a module include? Photos if possible. This could be VERY HELPFUL to current owners.
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  5. miksu

    miksu Been here awhile

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    Actually I have to retract that, I am somewhat involved in this sort of things so taking a peek at others products is one of the few leisure activities. The pack is most likely their own design and make. But there is definitely no easy nor cheap way to rebuild it because epoxy is used to carry the heat away around the cells. Alta forums has pictures and posts of a fairly recent pack which explains everything you want to know. The design has been shown in public by some in such way that it might not be considered to be under NDA anymore but better resort to public sources like the alta forums until they really go bust.

    Just a fun fact, there would be a lot more potential in the pack if they had used more expensive cells. Then again in the current format it has enough power and capacity already considering the weight and use of the vehicle.
  6. MJSfoto1956

    MJSfoto1956 Been here awhile

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    Prismatic cells are the way to go (even though they often are slightly larger than the smallest equivalent configuration of tightly-packed 18650 cells). With prismatic cells, each 3.2v cell is easily replaceable as they are bolted together with screw-type connectors. Lots of choices in vendors too.
  7. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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  8. TonyWilliams

    TonyWilliams n00b

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    I just bought the 2019 EXR (maybe the last one in San Diego county) yesterday. Fortunately, I know folks bidding on the Alta liquidation, and there is a chance that it is rebuilt and made better than ever.

    Of course, it may be lost forever.

    I don’t see any reason that a well financed person or group couldn’t duplicate the Alta bike. Virtually everything was an off the shelf commodity (battery cells, motor, wheels, brakes, etc). What is unique is:

    1) DMV / EPA / CARB homologation (yes, a big deal)
    2) Frame, battery and motor case, and swing arm castings (these can be duplicated relively easily)
    3) Software ... it would take a LOT of effort to get to where the Alta Software is now, but there’s nothing that is magic
    4) Vendor supply chain - these take a lot of time to set up at the price points required
    Chaostrophy likes this.
  9. MX Engineer

    MX Engineer Alta Redshift MXR is the best dirt bike ever!

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    Congrats on the new bike purchase. I just bought my second MXR last week. Hope you got a great deal at this time. You should now keep up with the latest Alta rumors at https://altaownersforum.com
    Battery, frame and software are actually the biggest hurdles for any potential competitors. At this point it would actually be way cheaper to buy Alta and keep building bikes, rather than to invent your own bike. Their battery tech can be used in other electric vehicles too. The battery cells are off-the-shelf, yes, but the assembly and keeping it cool and safe is not simple.
    Chaostrophy likes this.
  10. TonyWilliams

    TonyWilliams n00b

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    Thanks. I’ll check out that website.

    The battery isn’t such a big deal. Alta didn’t use any cooling system, so that’s easy to duplicate. I’d actually suggest some method to cool the cells.

    Even Battery Management can be “off the shelf” product. The software to apply power and control the inverter, and the throttle control, that’s unique.

    The short comings that I see:

    1) The bike is too heavy. I’m not sure where to start reducing weight.

    2) Increase charge rate to about 2C, or about 10-11kW. That should charge the bike in 30-45 minutes. Obviously, the weak point may be cell cooling (or complete lack thereof).
    Chaostrophy likes this.
  11. MX Engineer

    MX Engineer Alta Redshift MXR is the best dirt bike ever!

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    They do not use liquid cooling, but they do have some other cooling, I've been told by a former employee. They have patents on this stiff. This is why some companies wanted to buy them -- the battery tech -- and then scrap the dirt bike product line.
  12. Plawa

    Plawa ¿ʞO ǝʞᴉq ʎɯ sI

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    How many people have an electrical system at home that would support 10kW+ charging without installing a dedicated circuit? It makes sense to do that if you have an EV (Tesla home charges are in that range) but I don't see too many people investing in that for a bike
  13. _mtg_

    _mtg_ Been here awhile

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    Probably quite a few people. Power (Watts) = Volts * Amps. 10,000W/220V = 45A. I have that much spare current available on the circuit that feeds my water heater, and while that certainly doesn't mean that everybody has that available, it's probably common.
  14. TonyWilliams

    TonyWilliams n00b

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    C403379F-611C-43FA-BD09-E2737917B6CE.jpeg
    If you bought and ride a $10k-$15k motorcycle, have a home with typical 200 amp service, adding a 50 amp outlet is not a big deal. Examples of 20-60 amp outlets are:

    NEMA 14-60R - ovens
    NEMA 14-50R - RV Parks with “50 amp” service
    NEMA 6-50R - welders, Industrial
    NEMA 14-30R - Newer electric clothes dryers
    NEMA 10-30R - older electric clothes dryers
    NEMA L14-30R - generators Locking
    NEMA L6-30R - Industrial Locking
    NEMA L6-20R - industrial Locking

    I recommend using an L6-20R, and replacing the L14-30P plug on the Alta - Pelican case charger with a NEMA L6-20P. Then, you can use your charger with all the following adaptors from www.QuickChargePower.com

    But, you don’t need fast charging at home. Yes, at home, it could be a lowly 120 volt normal household outlet (NEMA 5-15). Where you need serious 20-60 amp outlets is in your tow vehicle or MX park, or wherever you actually ride and need electricity.
    _mtg_ likes this.
  15. johngault

    johngault Adventurer Supporter

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    Yes, its a bummer. The bike looks interesting but was not enough to draw me in based on the limited range. I suspect there are a lot of people like me that could tolerate the limited range but not the limited range and the long refill times. That is just a bridge too far. I wonder if dealer inventory will be heavily discounted
  16. Trialsman

    Trialsman Been here awhile

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    For anyone who owns an Alta the display has been a concern. It is vulnerable and if broken in a crash, cannot be repaired or replaced. It is also not just a display but an integral part of the controller so it is necessary. A little over a month ago I designed a guard and fabricated some to keep our bikes alive. I have two on my own bikes!!! if you are interested You can use the link below to find more information or purchase one for your bike. I put it on the Alta forum and the response has been extremely positive for the AltaVault.


    https://www.keithproducts.us/product/alta-vault-ex-or-mx-display-module-protection-device
    rainmaker8 likes this.
  17. ButchtheBARFdude

    ButchtheBARFdude poseur

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    It is a sweet piece. I will post pics when I get mine.
    Johnnyfromcali likes this.
  18. ButchtheBARFdude

    ButchtheBARFdude poseur

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    I am just catching up. This is a brilliant thread.
  19. Trialsman

    Trialsman Been here awhile

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    rainmaker8 likes this.
  20. ButchtheBARFdude

    ButchtheBARFdude poseur

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    Since these bikes may become difficult to obtain in the future, I bought a second one, an’18 EX. For those of us in the SF bay area there is lots of support to keep these running for a long time. The network of EV enthusiasts is pretty powerful.
    GlennR, Bucho, rainmaker8 and 2 others like this.