Zero Motorcycles

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by T.S.Zarathustra, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. NoMoreIdeas

    NoMoreIdeas Adventurer

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    Yeah the 46 was a stab in the dark, I get around 44-45mpg. Wish it was better but it is what it is.
  2. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Anyone who actually holds some patents knows that what you say is supposed to be true. But what you put in a patent is far more often designed to enumerate the things you want to prevent your competitors from duplicating, while withholding as much 'secret sauce' as possible. Patents are a strategic tool, used in a variety of ways depending on the invention and its market.

    The reason you don't see this superior technology today is that it's no longer superior. The advance of EVs was effectively stopped because large-format NiMH was withheld from the market. When the EV1 and EV+ were removed from the market, EVs died - there were no other NiMH EVs available. If you don't believe that, show that another maker used them. You can't, because they couldn't. There was certainly plenty of demand for them, shown by the large and very public outrage over the crushing of the EV1s and EV+s retrieved from lease. (See Who Killed the Electric Car.) EVs remained dead until lithium cylindrical cells were strung together by the 1000s to form a pack (along with the elaborate BMS such a pack required), easily outdoing the best performance NiMH could muster.

    The Chinese were not deeply into EVs at the time. What few they had ran OK on lead acid. Their priorities were elsewhere.
  3. T.S.Zarathustra

    T.S.Zarathustra Been here awhile

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    You cannot get a patent application accepted, or enforce a patent, if it does not state exactly what you want to patent. "Secret sauce" cannot be patented. Which is why Coca Cola and KFC recipes are trade secrets, not patented formulas. "Large format NiMH battery" by itself is not patentable. Reading about the patent encumbrance case (and imagine that it is more than just conspiracy theory, or coincidental happenings grouped together) it seems that the oil companies had some patent for some sort of a battery, but were in a Catch 22 situation (The patent could have been some chemistry mixture or manufacturing method). They would not build a factory to make the batteries without getting a huge order. They were not able to get a huge order without having a factory. There is a saying. "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." In simpler words: some bad things happen not because of people having bad intentions, but because they did not think it through properly.
    There is some nice reading about the GM EV1 vehicle and GM electric vehicle history here. http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/electriccar.htm They go into the reasoning for AC instaead of DC motors and some other nuisances about electric vehicle designs. Like the fact that it was GM who started the Australian Solar Race in the eighties. Not really what a company that is supposed to hate electric cars would do.
    In the nineties and noughties, Sub-C size NiMH and NiCD cells were made by the millions, nearly ten out of ten battery powered tools had them. They were very robust, 1000 plus charge cycles, simple to charge using cheap CC/CV circuitry, and you could get them really cheap. They could easily have been adapted to electric vehicles in the same way as the first Teslas did with the Lithium Ion batteries. As a matter of fact I seem to remember few of the nineties homebrew electric vehicles having that type of battery.
    I believe that the main reason these did not take off (apart from the fact that NiMH is somewhat polluting, and NiCD somewhat more polluting) is that the electronic circuit parts had not advanced enough to reach "critical mass" in power vs. price vs. efficiency. If you look at Moore's law, and imagine electronics 20-30 years ago, you can see what I mean.
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  4. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    You are clearly theorizing again, based on what you can find from a quick search, not from having been involved in EVs back then and watching things unfold in real time as I was. If you had any understanding of the details you would know it was a process patent. NiMH did not scale up to large-format without something new being invented. Several other companies tried to maneuver around the patent and were unable.

    Many, many 1000s of EV grade NiMH batteries had been produced before Texaco-Ovonics/Chevron/Cobasys/etc. (ownership shuffled around a lot) imposed their artificial limitation on minimum order quantity. They took ownership of a game that was already in play and purposely shut it down. There was no catch-22. If they had been interested in producing the batteries, they only had to continue turning the crank on the battery production that was already in place.

    GM had already started playing games with the batteries even before they sold the rights to Texaco et al. They didn't want to make EVs in the first place - they were being forced to by CARB as a requirement to be allowed to sell any cars in California at all. California is a huge market.

    It was this clear effort to stifle the EV, along with lithium's potential, that encouraged Martin Eberhard (one of the original founders of Tesla) to commission AC Propulsion to retro-fit their T-zero prototype with laptop lithium batteries. That allowed him to show investors the stunning capabilities of the ACP drivetrain combined with the new pack architecture - and led to the Tesla Roadster.

    After all, why would anyone go to the effort of making a squillion-cylindrical-cell pack with NiMH, if lithium is available? That is, aside from the fact that you should never parallel NiMH cells in an EV pack. (You don't know why that is, and you should. It is that fact that made large-format a necessity for NiMH EV packs. Look it up.)

    And BTW, consider for a moment that the patent office looks at claims and compares them to the claims made in other patents. ONLY. At no time is there any review of test results, engineering notes, evaluation of prototypes, nothing. Never any confirmation that the invention under consideration is fully described in the patent, or even that it actually works. Claims - that's it. How many ways can you think of that such a system might be bent to the favor of industry?

    Do you really think that everyone is conforming to the pristine concept of what patents are supposed to be as you have defined them? They're not. I say this as someone who has personally used the system to advantage for my employer. All fully legal. It's how the game is played.

    You need to step out of that theoretical ivory tower occasionally. Methinks you're missing quite a lot. There's lots of interesting stuff going on in the nitty-gritty of reality.
  5. T.S.Zarathustra

    T.S.Zarathustra Been here awhile

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    You say it's a process patent. I'll take your word for that. I'm not interested enough to look it up.

    "why would anyone go to the effort of making a squillion-cylindrical-cell pack with NiMH, if lithium is available" Price vs. performance is one reason. Toyota has been using them a lot in their hybrid vehicles.

    "aside from the fact that you should never parallel NiMH cells in an EV pack" Apart from that I did not say they should be parallel connected. Please elaborate, why should you not parallel NiMH cells?

    From the US patent office. You have to supply "Detailed Description of the Invention" that "particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter that the applicant regards as the invention" Just look it up. https://www.uspto.gov

    EOR. This is a Zero thread.
  6. folmonty

    folmonty Older I get, the faster I was Supporter

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    Lithium as a byproduct from seawater? Wow! If you’re right the Israelis will probably do it as they have the desalination thing down better than anywhere else.

    Looking at buying a used Zero, started reading through this thread. Super interesting!
  7. folmonty

    folmonty Older I get, the faster I was Supporter

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    Now I see a $900 state of CA EV credit placed in the pricing - that’ll buy the quick charger
  8. folmonty

    folmonty Older I get, the faster I was Supporter

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    Sweet looking IMHO. Nicely done!
  9. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer Supporter

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    Thank you. It's been quite a journey. Back a few pages, I posted pics of the stereo install, heated grips, throttle lock, satellite radio receiver, and just last night.. I added tire pressure sensors/display and an outside temp display. I also got tired of using the a/c socket because it would melt the plastic (rubber?) covering of the cord. Yes, I got in the habit of plugging in the bike first, then the wall but that didn't always work. I replaced the A/C receptacle and cords but after a couple months, it started it again. I got this setup and run it in parallel with the original socket. Works GREAT and locks into place.

    Attached Files:

  10. folmonty

    folmonty Older I get, the faster I was Supporter

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    Ventura will never be the same! Be fun to toy with riders up at the Cold Springs Tavern on weekends or Ojai backroads, so long as ya had enough juice to make it home?

    Is the J1772 connection standard same as used by cars? Don’t know how big they are to carry one along? Could this bike make use of other vehicle charging stations? No one is talking about that.
  11. folmonty

    folmonty Older I get, the faster I was Supporter

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    110 or 220? Looks much more sano IMO! Found a used FX I’m checking out. Cute gal owns it who’s an electrical engineer. Might even be Tesla?
  12. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer Supporter

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    Yes you can use a J1772 (240vac) with an adapter cable. Our chargers accept 110-240vac in, so no conversion needed.

    I've used both. I charge on 110 every day but have hooked up to 240v stations with my adapter cable. I just keep the adapter in the tank bag.
  13. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer Supporter

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    ok.. after riding around with it a bit I can tell you how it works.

    1. GREAT.
    2. In case you thought you could "lock" up the front break accidentally while riding.. YOU CANNOT. Even if you inadvertently push the pin in, it doesn't lock the brake. The second you touch the brake lever, it releases. So, even if you pushed it, and it stayed in the "in" or "lock" position, (which I did on purpose to test it out) it isn't, nor will it, lock the brakes. Sorry you "na-sayers" but it just can't happen. It's a two-handed operation. Pull the lever in, push the button, let go of the lever, let go of the button. Just that easy.
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  14. Lidja

    Lidja --- Supporter

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    Curious if anyone here is doing any remote camping with a Zero? I’d like to roll one into a toy hauler and head to the hills, but I wonder about recharging out in the wilderness. Would I have to camp where there are electric hook-ups, or is there a way to recharge using a portable generator?

    Other ideas?
  15. T.S.Zarathustra

    T.S.Zarathustra Been here awhile

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    Campsite with electric hookups and Portable generator will recharge it. You might have to leave the portable generator running through the night to fully recharge the bike. What I'd do would depend on Zero battery size, wattage of the generator, and availability of campsites with electric hookups.
    Lidja likes this.
  16. Lidja

    Lidja --- Supporter

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    Jeff at Zero replied to my inquiry with minutes—we’ve been going back and forth for the last couple of hours. He says they have customers who run off generators.

    I am going to seriously look into this next month when I get some time off. I tested a Zero a few years ago and was really impressed with the handling. Given the super-simple maintenance and clean “fuel”—along with the proliferation of charging stations now, this might be the ideal machine for me to take in a toy hauler as a solo camper.
  17. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    This seems counter-intuitive - why not just ride a gasoline-powered bike instead?
  18. Lidja

    Lidja --- Supporter

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    Gas bikes in a camper/toy hauler makes for a rather nasty situation. Having an e-bike, kayak, and Zero in a small toy hauler “living room” seems preferable for camping trips, when day-tripping is the norm.

    (When riding long distances from home, I take the XR.)
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  19. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    But then you still have to put the generator somewhere.
  20. T.S.Zarathustra

    T.S.Zarathustra Been here awhile

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    True, that would be much simpler solution. But the question was if charging could be done this way.
    I don't know this situation. There might be noise limit on the trails. If you could only afford one bike, and 95% of the time you'd charge it at home or in charging stations, then why let that 5% limit you to purchase gasoline-powered bike?
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.