Thoughts on Electric Motorcycles?

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by Designer Jake, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    To me, Honda is the most intriguing on your list of major manufacturers. IMHO, no one has better engineers than Honda. When the GM EV1 was getting a lot of attention in the 90's, Honda was making the EV+, which I would argue was an even more impressive achievement. But it was a grocery-getter, not a 'sports' car, so it got no love. (And BTW, Honda did all the same nasty things that got GM called out in the world-famous documentary Who Killed the Electric Car, but they still didn't get any bad press for it. At all. Because the EV+ wasn't a media darling.)

    I think the only other pure EV Honda has made since then is the eFit, which they were forced to do in order to sell cars in CA due to the CARB mandate. (CA is a huge market, and the land of the compliance car.) I know of no others globally. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    The reason is that Honda views itself as an engine company. As in internal combustion. The world's best. (The founder, Soichiro Honda, was once quoted as saying he had motor oil flowing through his veins.) They are certainly the biggest. Over years of following them I've seen a number of references that strongly suggest the very fine products and vehicles they make, from generators to aircraft, are really just a means of selling engines. They are certainly capable of building a world-beating EV of any type. I just don't think they want to. More importantly, I think they would prefer to purposely slow the trend toward electric power as much as possible.

    To all the other major manufacturers, the march toward electric vehicles is just a market shift. Certainly a major one, but really just something they see as necessary to remain in the game as markets change with technology. Nothing more. For Honda it's a repudiation of the core of their corporate identity. It will be very interesting to see how they respond, and how it plays out within the company. They need to adapt to the market and fundamentally change their culture. Not an easy task.
  2. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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    Actually, I think the opposite is true for any of the major manufacturers. Electric power's simplicity compared to internal combustion will be an equalizer between manufacturers, giving the big four less of an advantage. Compare the technology involved in producing an electric motorcycle, start to finish, compared to an internal combustion powered motorcycle that meets European and US emissions and noise standards that has competitive power along the entire rev range, a smooth power delivery, and easy throttle control. Many of the big four are failing with some of their bikes but you don't get the same criticisms even with the smaller startups like Zero and Alta.
  3. Jay_In_Milpitas

    Jay_In_Milpitas Zero to sixty in February

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    Zero and Alta have done the design and execution right in starting with a clean sheet of paper and working from "what is necessary" point of view. The first Zero model (Zero X) looked to be just an odd but robust bicycle and was made to run a 30-45 minute moto. Smaller battery with wheels and suspension made to suit the lighter weight.
    Where Zero and Alta are currently suffering is that their machines are still mostly hand built in small batches, and the price reflects that. If/when a major maker steps in to the playing field with mass production and mechanization, the prices should come down. I just can't predict whether Alta & Zero will survive.
  4. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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    Zero and Alta are like the Tesla of motorcycles. They just lack the financial backing similar to Elon Musk. They currently offer the best electric motorcycles ever produced. Their survival will be the theater worth watching. I am personally rooting for both. No different than Harley really in the scheme of things. Sellers to a niche market that will either evolve, grow, and thrive or be absorbed by the larger players as the world changes.
  5. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    Very tempted by Alta...
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  6. MeinMotorrad

    MeinMotorrad Long timer

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    HD and to a lesser extent Triumph, rely on the retro bike market. I wonder where these customers will go? A eBonneville doesn't seem to me something that hipsters or middle aged men would buy.
  7. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    Maybe not eBonneville, but StreetElectric in a Street Triple frame...
  8. Jay_In_Milpitas

    Jay_In_Milpitas Zero to sixty in February

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    Troph-E?
  9. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    voltsxamps likes this.
  10. EvrythingAwesom

    EvrythingAwesom Long timer

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    I have owned (or co-owned) several chain drive ebikes, escooters (one with 5K watts brushed chain-driven, tricked up), an eGrom, several brusheless hub motor Chinese escooters, a US-made electric scooter a with belt-drive that was later modded to chain drive + gassers.

    All, or most, of the Chinese-made e-rides since 2009 or so were made with a new technology that made a 1000 watt hub motor brushless outperform 2000+ watts brushed non-hub, in efficiency (meaning no heat), and double the range.

    The Chinese post-2014 combo hub motor with sine-wave controller is even more efficient.

    All of this is from experience.

    I have no experience with Zero or Alta.

    I do not want to own another chain-drive or belt-drive 2-wheeler, nor any bike without tubeless tires.

    Had a mountain ebike that was like an early-model Zero.

    I ride my eGrom on trails. Came with semi-knobbies. Got stuck in mud once.

    I will keep a tricked up Kymco Super-9.

    Btw, a friend with the pizzza-pie hub motor by Bionx "D-series" on his ebike beat my eGrom on an uphill climb! Something about "leverage" by having the magnets close to the rim. (He was pedalling, too.)

    http://ridebionx.com/technology/motor-technology/
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  11. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    What's eGrom?
  12. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    Sparkster
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  13. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    [​IMG]An electric Grom clone
  14. RCmoto

    RCmoto Long timer

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    I very much want one, but cautious of quality issues.
  15. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    Where do you get one without getting scammed?
  16. j2wMotorClothing

    j2wMotorClothing Journey on 2 wheels

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    [​IMG]

    Electric Motorcycle versus Gas Motorcycle? Performance, Efficiency, Cost and Maintenance
    Electric or gas motorcycle are both fun to ride. Whatever option you may have both gives freedom and adventure. It is still one of the most preferred alternative mode of transportation worldwide. However, there are various benefits and drawbacks that a rider must consider. With the comeback of the electric motorcycle, many are warming up for this technology. Let us take a look of some of the advantages and disadvantages for you to decide.

    ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE
    1. Environment Friendly

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    This is the most important impact of electric motorcycle. Possibly fewer greenhouse emissions. It reduces air pollution and limits effect of global warming.



    2. Safe and Easy to Operate
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    Electric motorcycles are fun for people of all ages. With the safety features of this technology, it is considered a better wheel for a back-ride to school. Elderlies and conservative women hold in a high regard on electric motorcycle.



    3. Stress and Sweat-free
    [​IMG]

    The safety automatic features makes this kind of motorcycle a worry-free technology. You don’t have to figure out what gear you are in and how to clutch properly. You only have to perform a little physical effort to drive your motorcycle. The amazing thing is that you don’t have to worry for gas or oil.





    DISADVANTAGES OF ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE
    1. Expensive

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    The cost of an electric motorcycle is really expensive, it is generally higher compared to the gas motorcycle. Definitely your electric power bill will also go up. Electric motorcycles turn out to be more expensive when it comes to accessories particularly on batteries.



    2. Short Driving Range
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    Electric powered motorcycles usually have limited range. It is short range and slow refueling. It is not suitable for a long road trips.



    3. Limited Battery Life
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    Generally a maintenance-free batteries have limited life. The more use of the motorcycle, the earlier the battery life will end. Charging also must be guarded to avoid damage to the batteries. Overcharging may lead to permanent damage and the motorcycle can no longer function properly.



    Gas powered motorcycle is still preferred by most motorcycle enthusiasts. It has an outweigh benefits that most riders admire. Let us have a look on the cons and pro that a rider must understand before considering this technology.

    ADVANTAGES GAS MOTORCYCLE
    1. Faster

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    Compared to electric motorcycle, gas motorcycle is faster. It has better suspensions that you can go as fast as you like. It can bring you miles away to wherever destinations you want.



    2. Resale Value
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    It is easy to find a buyer for gas motorcycle. The resale value of a gas powered motorcycle is higher compared to electric motorcycle. With proper maintenance, you can have a good market price.



    3. Inexpensive
    [​IMG]

    Initial investment cost is cheaper. Maintenance as well as the services and spare parts are less expensive. You can pump gas anytime you need it without worrying of your electric bill to rise up.





    DISADVANTAGES GAS MOTORCYCLE
    1. Heavy



    [​IMG]

    Though there are various types of motorcycle, but generally not all can easily pull a motorcycle. It is heavy that you need to exert force to move around a motorcycle. You need concentration, skills and strength to maneuver a motorcycle.

    2. Maintenance
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    There are options for maintenance. You can choose between dealers, private mechanic or you can do it on your own. Any options definitely will cost you money. Maintenance is a must to maintain a good running condition.

    3. Pollution
    [​IMG]

    Based on study, gas powered motorcycle have worse emissions. The chemicals found on the gas have bad health impact to human. Once inhaled, it can cause illness and hazardous to the body.



    Electric motorcycles and gas motorcycles both are taking to road. As you make the decision, weigh the pros and cons. Choose whatever fits best to your lifestyle. Whichever option, both are great to take you to the top 10 motorcycle rides. You will enjoy more if you gear up every time you ride on your motorcycle. USO Volunteer Apparel has options for you to choose to go along with your ride.

    About the Author: Brody Schmidt
    [​IMG]
    J2W Motor Clothing Company
    Founder | Owner | CEO
    Location Redlands, CA
    J2W provides riders with quality custom apparel suited for any journey. We believe every journey has a story and seek to provide your ride with a community and to share your experiences and hope you will choose us to be a part of your journey on two wheels.
  17. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    Thank you for sharing this, however I disagree on a few points in this comparison:

    Electric advantage point 1.
    While being environmentally friendly is an important advantage, rarely is it the first thing people talk about when riding or driving an EV or an EM. I believe that instant torque/acceleration is what they remember most and the main reason most people want one.

    Electric disadvantage point 1.
    While I agree that most electric motorcycles cost more than a comparable gas bike, one’s electric bill increase is hardly noticeable & accessories won’t cost any more than they do for a gas bike. As for batteries, that’s not something that requires replacing for an avg of 10-15 years if they’re lithium; the type usually found in EM’s.

    Gas advantage point 1.
    Suspensions are just that and can be equipped on either type of bike. While most electrics can achieve triple digit speeds, they suck down the power at higher velocities, so most are controller limited as lower avg speeds are necessary to get the most range. When maximum range is not a factor, electric bikes from Energica and Lightning can go 150-218 mph.. the latter currently the fastest production bike in the world.

    Gas advantage point 3.
    Gas bikes cost more to operate and require more maintenance costing more than a near-maintenance free electric. The low cost of EM ownership offsets the initial cost difference in usually just 4-5 years of regular use compared to a similar gas bike.
  18. ex250mike

    ex250mike Long timer

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    The only thing I really disagree with is the "heavy" disadvantage of gas bikes. So far electrics are generally heavier.
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  19. Even Madder Matt

    Even Madder Matt Been here awhile

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    I sat on a Zero DS at a show recently and was shocked how heavy it was. Someone who never drops their bike might feel differently, but to me it was unusably heavy for a dual sport machine.
  20. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer Supporter

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    This is why I chose the 90lbs lighter 7.2 S. The engine is less powerful but moves lighter bike very quickly. The short range is not a problem for commuting and errands but o/w is a big limit.

    BTW, the DS or DSR with the stock larger battery weighs about 120 lbs less than a BMW R1200 GS.
    The “power tank” option puts 30 plus lbs high where a gas tank usually is found, not good for handling. I wonder if that is what Matt tried. High price to pay for the extended range.