Thoughts on electric motorcycles?

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by itnithand, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. itnithand

    itnithand n00b

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    What are your thoughts on electric motorcycles like the zero s or harley's livewire electric bike that is supposed to come out soon? Would you give up the sound and feel of a gas bike for the intense torque and smoothness of an electric bike or is that too much of a sacrifice?
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  2. MJSfoto1956

    MJSfoto1956 Been here awhile

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    In spite of 35+ years building/customizing/hot-rodding various types of ICE vehicles, going forward it will only be electric for me.
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  3. Bolzen

    Bolzen Been here awhile

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    Yeah, but oil madness took its toll and we are far behind from where should be. Personally believe that current tech is kinda off the right track with that Li+ vector of development. Commuter bike it can be but hardly a lot more.
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  4. Chaostrophy

    Chaostrophy Been here awhile

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    I want a 200 mile touring range, I'm willing to get a bit weird for the aerodynamics needed to get that range, some flavor of quick charging, and luggage capacity. Craig Vetter's 100mpg project gives some ideas on aerodynamics.
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  5. MJSfoto1956

    MJSfoto1956 Been here awhile

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    I wonder if we are looking at this all wrong. Perhaps we simply need to wait for wireless chargers to be built into the highways? Say a strip of fast chargers embedded every mile. With (not yet available) ultra fast wireless charge technology you might be able to run on the highway indefinitely with such a setup. As such, the battery would simply need to get you home from the highway.

    M
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  6. jfauerba

    jfauerba Been here awhile

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    Wireless charger for home would be nice until then. Just have to park over it and nothing to forget.
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  7. NoMoreIdeas

    NoMoreIdeas Adventurer

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    I really think you should go ride one. I test rode a Zero SR and a FX and walked out of the dealership thinking I had to find a way to buy one. A little over a year later and I have a Zero FX sitting in my garage and its been so awesome to ride. I thought i'd miss riding my other ICE bikes alot more, but honestly would rather ride the Zero whenever I can.

    I dont think they will replace ICE bikes, and I dont think they are road trip worthy or will be anywhere near there anytime soon (although people do this anyway). But I do think for casual rides, in / around the city, trails and 90% of what I use my bike for, electric is king and if this is all you do, you can get away with only owning an electric bike. The cool thing is I wake up every morning with a full tank of 'gas'.. this was a perk that I didnt think I'd value as much as I do. But.. i'll be keeping at least one of my ICE bikes for a long while.

    I dont miss the sound - being stealthy is pretty neat and I dont have to worry about pissing off my neighbors if i want to go on a late or early ride. I can actually have a conversation with people near me. I dont miss the clutch or shifting, especially doing low speed maneuvers, in traffic, off road or when its cold as balls outside. I also dont have to worry about a dead battery or trying to start it or even warming up the bike - you can go HAM as soon as you get on the thing. With all of that said, while I dont miss any of that, getting back on a ICE bike is still fun to experience all of those things.
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  8. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    I currently have a KTM 1290 SA, 650 V-Strom, Zero SR and an Energica Eva 107. The KTM and V-Strom have factory exhaust and neither are very loud. Love the way to KTM starts to purr when you crack the throttle hard. But sound has never been a big deal to me when riding a motorcycle. The Eva isn't completely silent or even close. For me it is all about the torque. While the KTM is truly an amazing beast there is no question the Eva pulls harder. As NoMoreIdeas said, you really need to go ride one. Butts on seats is what sells electric motorcycles. For those who can only manage one bike I think it will be a long time before an electric motorcycle is a practical option. But I think they make an awesome second bike. Right now when range and or charging times are no issue I ride the Eva 107. If they are I ride the KTM. Just not a big deal. Love both bikes. But I also realize that while the power delivery of an electric motor is very appealing to me that is not going to be the case with everyone. Regardless of range and charging times some folks will have no interest in them. But not everyone wants a big single cylinder motor or an inline four. We all have our preferences and it is good to have options.
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  9. itnithand

    itnithand n00b

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    Thank you so much
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  10. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Just to further illustrate how many different ways there are to come into the EV fold, I was probably more deeply involved with ICE than anyone here. I even spent some time wrenching on a championship-winning AMA Superbike team. I never considered the ICE as an object of devotion, more a means to an end, but my understanding of its innards and how to optimize them was (is) pretty thorough. I later gave up all that racing silliness, went back to school and became an engineer.

    Early in my 'grown-up' career I was internet surfing at lunch and stumbled on something about EVs. I saw pretty quickly that even then - 20 years ago - EVs could be perfectly viable second cars if they were designed as such from the ground up. And mind you, this was when the go-to battery was 60 lb., 6V lead-acid golf cart batteries. I converted a gas car to prove the point, which it did nicely.

    Fast forward and I still marvel at how much better an experience EVs are compared to ICE. I was all in for ICE and basically ended up making my decades of hard-won knowledge and insight about them completely irrelevant. It's worth it. There is nothing - absolutely nothing - about ICE that I miss. I only revert to ICE when traveling long distances now, and see it as a necessary evil. And there is very good reason to expect that limitation to disappear in a few years as solid-state batteries become available.

    On top of all that, EVs help reverse the trend toward making this planet we all share less habitable. As an engineer that's pretty obvious to me, but some go to great lengths to disagree with the experts based on no expertise of their own. It's a topic that (frighteningly) remains controversial, but the good news (as far as EVs are concerned) is that it doesn't matter what you choose to believe or ignore - EVs are still superior in every way except range, and that one disadvantage will likely disappear soon.

    Some people say they'll miss the ICE. It's a personal thing, but what they 'miss' are really characteristics that emphasize ICE shortcomings. The sound is just an indication of how terribly inefficient an ICE is. When the energy in gasoline is converted in an ICE, less than 20% goes to actually turning the wheels. Over 80% is completely wasted as heat and noise. Reverse that for an electric power train - 80% to the wheels, 20% waste as heat (a 4X efficiency improvement). Transmissions, and the (engaging???) need to shift gears are only there because of the pathetically low torque output of the ICE at low speeds. If not for nostalgia, that would be seen as the bug that it is, not as a feature. With no transmission and no need to idle, there is no need for a clutch in an EV either.

    And of course there is the lack of dozens of moving parts and their impact on reliability and maintenance. This from someone who spent a big chunk of my life figuring out how to deal with that. I'm SO glad to turn my back on it forever.
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  11. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer Supporter

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    Great post.
    Luddites will want to burn you at the stake.
    I'm riding both electric and ICE. Love the Zero, but due to range it's mainly a commuter. A really great commuter. And to the OP, the lack of noise and vibration is fantastic. A joy to ride. Addictive.

    Looking forward to battery evolution and larger production volumes that will lower prices and increase range.
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  12. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    ^ Similarly, if any of any of you get the chance (if you haven't already) to speak to a Tesla owner, they will almost certainly tell you that the only cars they are buying going forward are electric.

    While bikes and a cars are not the same thing, they are the most common forms of transportation worldwide and the main thing that electric bikes & cars currently (pun intended) have yet to master is covering long rural distances where charging sources can be scarce, though it's a matter of time before fast charge sources are as abundant as gas stations. Other than that, I truly believe that electric propulsion is here to stay and it's adoption will continue to grow. One example is Tesla's Model 3 outselling all other small and midsized luxury cars since it's introduction and with the fewest used cars available by an order of magnitude (just .06%). It's older sibling, the Model S still has the highest resale value of any car. A recent AAA survey indicated 20% of US drivers say their next car will be electric, up from 15% a year ago; all positive indications of the general public's perception of EV's overall. Seeing how we're talking about motorcycles, however, I believe the following factors have the largest influences on motorcyclists (more so in the US) adopting electric:

    - Harley Davidson accounted for 35% US marketshare (2014) and are the antithesis of a quiet electric.. or at least until HD saw the writing on the wall and developed the upcoming LiveWire
    - Some motorcyclists like to go on long adventures, often into rural or remote areas, where fast charge networks are scarce (though RV parks can be a good source of high current recharging)
    - Sound and shifting. Between the two, sound is the more often talked about "dynamic" that is believed to be missed, though, many folks like myself believe the lack of NVH is a benefit.

    With the exception of my Yamaha FZ-07, our family is 100% electric.. from our car to the scooters my kids ride. I owned a small electric motorcycle for a year and a half to commute to/from work in town and other than changing the brake fluid, it didn't cost me a cent to maintain (hub motor) and it practically paid for itself due to it's ridiculously low cost to recharge (see my cost analysis in e-Grom thread), even without factoring my solar panels. In short, my next motorcycle purchase will again be electric. I've been patient, watching the tech and infrastructure mature, and keeping a close eye on Zero & Energica, as the most likely to join (or replace) my FZ.

    With Harley launching the LiveWire, I think it's just a matter of time before other major manufacturers introduce more electrics as well, but whatever you choose to propel your wheels, I say enjoy the ride! :gyro
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  13. Bucho

    Bucho DAMNrider

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    The silent/quiet/stealth factor riding offroad can't be overstated.

    I have yet to buy myself an adult sized electric dirtbike. But riding my kid's OSET 20.0 around is so much fun!
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  14. Shaolin

    Shaolin Been here awhile

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    Having an EV as a "second vehicle", as a "commuter", will quickly become a myth as the electric motorcycle/car owner gets familiar with the capabilities and practicality of electric propulsion. We started off with a BMW Active E, the precursor to the BMW i3. We had 5 various ICE vehicles. Once the Active E came home, the other 5 became forgotten, occasional use vehicles that cost us more in replacement 12v batteries because they sat for months. One by one, we got rid of our gas vehicles. I had a Chevy Volt for long range (traded in a Lincoln LS on that). My wife's i3 is now my daily driver. We replaced our Toyota Land Cruiser with a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which pulls our trailer better than the LandCruiser. Even our gas lawn equipment are being phased out.

    The only holdout is my BMW K1600GTL. When I get an electric motorcycle, I can see it being relegated to garage queen and saved for my really long trips. I say 95% of my mileage on that bike is within the range of a Zero or a BMW C Evolution scooter. While it's nice to be coddled in luxury, most of the time, my bike is just overkill. When I ride a Zero, it's a non-stop joyride.
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  15. satuple22

    satuple22 Adventurer

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    Boring as can be. Nope, I’ll keep my slow, noisy, gas powered bike!
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  16. T.S.Zarathustra

    T.S.Zarathustra Been here awhile

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    Looks like someone is promoting a business, maybe an adbot.
    But anyway. I'll switch over to Electric motorcycle as soon as one comes on the market that:
    A. I can afford.
    B: Is nimble in the city/backroads, and comfortable on the highway.
    C: Speed up to 80-90 MPH.
    D: Range up to 200 miles.
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  17. satuple22

    satuple22 Adventurer

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    On the topic of the so-called “green” alternatives to internal combustion engines, nobody has dared to reveal/disclose what the carbon print of producing an electric motors is. Nor has anybody addressed the pollution all those batteries would create. We are getting inundated with cel phone batteries, that are a bear to dispose off. Can you imagine millions and millions of electric powered automobile and truck batteries? Yes, climate change fanatics have been very careful not to mention a word about these realities. Meanwhile, companies like Mazda continue to develop internal combustion engine technology to lower emissions and increase efficiency to unreal levels. And I don’t know, but I get no pleasure from hearing , or rather not hearing, a Tesla go by. I’ll take a beautifully sounding loud internal combustion engine any time over the electric vehicle nothingness. My two cents.
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  18. MJSfoto1956

    MJSfoto1956 Been here awhile

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    What a wondrous bunch of Gish Galloping. Bravo.
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  19. jas67

    jas67 Long timer

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    I avoid riding on highways. Two lane twisty roads is where the fun is, and the embedded charging will never be.
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  20. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Countering the stream of disinformation from the anti-EV crowd is exhausting, but I have a little time and it's good to poke holes in this crap when we can. Let's break this down a bit.
    Combination of conspiracy theory and fear/uncertainty/doubt (FUD). Zero facts. Nothing at all of real use in this statement, just a lot of ooga-booga scary words. There's so little here there's virtually nothing to respond to. The whole point is atmospherics.

    However I will say this. Electric motors are so long-lasting and used in such a spectacularly wide variety of applications that there are many, many more of them in use than ICEs. If the "carbon footprint of producing an electric motor" was such a concern, why bring it up now - when they've been around roughly a century longer than ICEs? Could it be that their 'greenness' was never a concern until they threatened to replace a technology that some have developed a romanticized attachment to?

    So beyond the fact that it's just plain false, this seems a suspiciously opportunistic concern if you ask me.
    Extremely vague, but at least something approaching a claim. Pollution during mining? Manufacturing, Use? Disposal? At no point are today's batteries any more polluting than your typical industrial product. They are part of a system that replaces other "polluting" systems in an ICE.
    False. There are certainly a lot of cell phone batteries out there, but disposing of them is no problem at all. You can even pitch them in the trash because the EPA allows them in landfills. EV batteries have a lot of capacity left in them when they are retired from traction use, so they are perfect for a second life as stationary storage - a huge boon to the ever-greening power grid. If material scarcity or toxicity were ever an issue we could recycle them, just like we recycle lead batteries now. (Lead recycling rates are something like 98% these days.)
    More conspiracy theories and FUD.
    Wild over-statement. I don't care how "unreal" Mazda's tech becomes in terms of efficiency, it will never come even remotely close to the roughly 80% efficiency of EVs - about 4 times better than ICE.
    Personal preference, one that I can totally relate to. I used to be quite the ICE fanatic too. Then I saw that compared to electric power, ICE is a dead technology that just hasn't fallen down yet. It's very unsettling for many to accept such a massive, fundamental shift in our transportation paradigm, but facts are what they are. It is important to note that just about every characteristic of ICEs that makes them appeal to romantics is a manifestation of its weaknesses compared to electric power. (Sound, shifting, smell, art/skill of getting it to run right, etc.) It really comes down to resistance to change.

    (And let's be clear - humanity is advancing on every front, leading to an ever-accelerating rate of change in every facet in our society. So get used to either accommodating change, or to disappointment, fear and anxiety. There are only two paths. Pick one. I choose to evaluate each potential change on its own merits, not on nostalgia or fear.)

    The ICE is way past mature tech. Its potential is nearly tapped out. EVs are just getting started, with many game-changing developmental leaps yet to come.
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