back to article Production electric motorcycle breaks 100 mile range

A California electric motorcycle manufacturer will start selling hogs – well, piglets – that are capable of a range of over 100 miles thanks to a new power pack that should outlast the bike itself, plus newly adopted energy capture technology. The new Z-Force power pack has 95 per cent more energy density than previous models, …

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Pirate

Hmm

Seems like its really only suited to city riding, where you have almost zero chance of getting stuck with a flat battery, wonder if the dash has a 'point of no return' idiot light?

That aside, as a veteran rider of London town, i reckon a silent motorbike will guarantee its rider a first class ambulance ride in short order.

It may be a cliché but Loud pipes really do save lives.

Fuck I miss my bike, stupid procreation.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

oh so true

My first BMW nearly got me killed so often until I replaced the corrosion prone original pipes with 650 BSA pipes. Suddenly far fewer near misses and a nice note to boot.

Could not sneak out of then girlfriends driveway after that though.

Electric bikes, a poor greenies Prius and equally as stupid for conserving resources.

If it cant go 350Km, it is useless for Real World.

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5

Indeed...

Having clocked up more than 150k miles over the years, motorbikes having been my primary means of transport (never owned a car, in southern Europe winters are mild enough to ride year round even if one's not particularly hardy) I must say I do find the idea of a zero emission bike rather appealing.

The lack of an appropriate (rowr!) exhaust note certainly is a point of concern though. Even a Beemer-esque purr would be better than the ghostly silence I'd expect an all-electric bike to "produce". That, plus the range being plainly insufficient for the yearly long haul. Unless they get the battery tech to the point it can get a full charge in the time of a coffee & cigarette break - if you can manage to locate a sufficiently beefy power source.

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I've done Bikesafe and IAM and whilst neither "officialy" support loud pipes, both my instructors very much did.

Back to the old question then..... how do they/do they even generate a fake noise?

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Ru
FAIL

"If it cant go 350Km, it is useless for Real World"

Balls. A fifty mile radius is quite reasonable for the vast majority of trips done by the vast majority of people.

What you mean is 'it is useless from a marketing point of view'.

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Ru
Joke

"Electric bikes, a poor greenies Prius"

Disagree. The risk of death on an electric bike is significantly higher than the risk when driving a Prius. Given the colossal carbon footprint of your average privileged westerner of the sort who can afford to own electric vehicles, the greater number of fatalities means that electric bikes are vastly more eco friendly.

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Genuine question, folks ... not a troll.

How do/would loud pipes save lives. I am a long-term car-driver, and have never (yet, and unless wife has a serious personality change, will never will) had a bike. Equally, I have never had even a near-miss with a bike (sorry, once, pulling out of a junction on a blind bend, and it would have been the same with a car going at the same speed - i.e. too fast for the conditions). As far as I know, I do use sound to tell whether something is behind/alongside me, but this works even with the quietest cars. Why, then, do you claim loud pipes - which are a nuisance to all - are such an important addition? If I can hear a top-flight Rolls-Royce (and I have had minor hearing difficulties for many years), why do you need neighbourhood-waking exhausts?

TL/DR - how loud do pipes have to be, in your opinion, before they become "too loud"?

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Re: Fake noise

For some reason this doesnt seem to be happening, Had a chat with an electric courier van driver a while ago, he mentioned that none of them like taking out the electric vans because pedestrians keep walking out in front of them.

Mind you one time while waiting at some lights to pull onto the strand a yank ambled over and asked what batteries my old NC35 ran on, was never sure if he was taking the piss or genuinly thought it was too quiet for a motor at tickover, sang a sweet tune at 15k revs though.

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Facepalm

Loud pipes...

... don't save lives so much as good observation and proper riding plans do, they just piss off other people *after* you've gone past because they'll be hearing you for the next mile.

The only problem I see with electric drive is that makes it harder to judge your speed "by ear" simply by knowing what note your engine makes in which gear.

Oh and as for "88 mph that will get you little cred from the local two-wheeled community" that's bollocks, as long as you can flick it through the twisties, that's what matters!

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@Intractable Potsherd

There are various optical effects which can make it difficult for drivers to actually see, or at least register, a bike coming towards them at a junction. The noise a bike makes helps your brain 'notice' that it's there. One of the most common biking accidents is a 'smidsy'... drivers pulling out right in front of a bike because they didn't see/register it.

Also, if you can hear a bike, you know there is one somewhere near you, even if you don't know exactly where. So in theory, you'll be more careful! The louder it is, the larger the range of the effect. Although I admit some are far louder than they need to be, some are illegally loud too. Chances are they are the ones with the tiny, also illegal, number plates on the back.

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how loud is too loud ?

Depends on the exhaust note. A small two-stroke (um well, there are no large two-strokes, not any more) at even mildly elevated sound levels will be experienced as rather annoying to the average ear, while a big chunky four-stroke at significantly higher sound levels might not.

Case in point, I live on a moderately busy street, whenever some school kid on his badly silenced moped passes through, I curse. But there's this guy round the corner who has this old Ducati Paso, and when he passes through, the windows rattle and I smile. But YMMV, and I should state that my ear is certainly not the average Daily Mail reader's ear.

On the utility of "loud" pipes in traffic, well they're not going to help to avoid a head-on collision. But they do certainly help in avoiding jerky reactions from car drivers who did not notice you were overtaking them, and often they're a literal wake-up call to car drivers who might be about to turn into your path.

Unless you've clocked some miles on two wheels, you would not realize, nor believe, how distracted car drivers often are. The amount of gadgetry available to them lately (satnavs, mobile phones, car stereos) certainly doesn't help. When you're on a bike, you don't have time for distractions: you constantly keep a tab on anything that moves and the slightest lapse of attention might result in you ending up in a wheel chair or worse.

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I'd be interested to see if this bike is capable of being rode with L plates. L plates you have to have a bike of 125cc or less and power output of 11kW, if the bike is CBT capable then I can see a market for people who take the A1 test (under 21's) or want a bike to ride on their CBT. With the price of petrol hitting £1.30/litre it could be a viable alternative.

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IIRC doesn't an L-PLate bike also have to be limited to 30mph?

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Nope, a moped which can be driven at 16 must be limited but a 125cc bike, driven at 17 after a CBT is not speed limited, only power.

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FAIL

Actually, the restriction for an L-Plate bike is 125CC or less.

My old 125 could do 80Mph and was perfectly legal on L plates.

This is certainly going to kill someone unless they have a megaphone on board playing a recording of a loud pipe all the time.

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no, no speed limiation

it's a power limitation that you have when you're 17 and over, and on a learners licence, which is 125cc and a power output of 11 kW or less.

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IT Angle

CBT

Nope. If you take a CBT on a twist-and-go automatic scooter then you are restricted to 50cc and 31mph, if you do it on a manual 125cc bike you are restricted to 11kw/125cc. At 16 you can only do the 50cc version, at 17 you can do either.

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Nope.

The 125cc bikes I had will do 60ish on L-plates & were entirely legal.

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Silver badge

Nope

An L-Plate bike doesn't have to have a speed limiter by law. A 125 can hit over a ton.

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Wow! Scary!

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Silver badge
FAIL

Not and be road legal in the UK it can't

To learn on one it has to be limited to 12BHP. To reach 100 you need something like 40BHP and a lot of tuning out of a 125. The resulting noise would not be road legal (and the engine wouldn't last long).

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FAIL

Serious Road Kill

Have to agree with Jubtastic1, without a sound the bike is a death trap in the city. It's bad enough that here in Sydney the taxi drivers are blind and slightly deaf, but have a bike that's completely silent? Well sorry, you're going to die.

Jub, also, don't ever give up riding due to procreation. I didn't, and neither did a lot of rider friends, best excuse is that it's cheaper than public tranportation, and allows you to get to and from where your going so that you can be home in time to help cook dinner and put the kiddies to bed.

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Ride it like it were a bicycle in traffic.

I always assume at any choke point, that a car capable of placing itself in the same volume of space as me and my silent e-bike will attempt to do so, and behave accordingly.

The only thing I have to worry about are red light runners and they will clean anyone up regardless of audibility.

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hear hear...

Agree on all counts, people may whinge about loud pipes but we bikers need all the awareness we can get from other road users. I would never try to claim that I didn't ever squeeze the law once in a while but that is the whole point of choosing a bike in today's clogged world. I use both major A roads and motorways on a daily basis and it is rare that at least one of them is not at a standstill. If I couldn't filter between the static lanes then I would just be adding to the congestion.

Now what they need to do (my patent, my patent) is install optional soundtracks which use the road speed and acceleration to push a pseudo engine note out of some speakers. You could make it switchable between single cylinder thumper or a Hog through to V4 2-stroke screamer (and add in stuff like a Merlin engine for novelty value)

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Stop

Age dependent with dependants

I gave up my bike on marriage and procreation because being under 25 and male the insurance cost was insurmountable. It was 15% of the value of the bike, per annum. As a single guy that was wearable, as a married undergraduate with a child it was very much not so. Especially since we then had a car to run and finance as well.

There is also the issue of responsibility to your family. Riding a bike is riskier than driving, I wish it were not so but on a bike you will always be more vulnerable in a collision and you cannot always avoid collision.

I gave my bike up for both reasons, I couldn't afford it and I wanted to see my kids grow up. I didn't ride like a maniac either, I just had too many incidents where drivers clearly didn't see me, even fitting a driving light atop the wimpy headlight and having it on in daylight didn't entirely stop cars at intersections only just stopping in time.

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Boffin

Re: hear hear

The thought adding artificial engine/exhaust noise crossed my mind, but if you'd want to use anything that even remotely resembles available hardware you'd be limited to a 125cc two-stroke wail - which can be reproduced at the required sound pressure levels through a horn system of relatively modest dimensions. Forget about imitating a large four-stroke, the exhaust note of such engines have powerful low frequency components which means you'd need a trailer to carry the required subwoofer, and the power consumption might be a liability too.

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Re: ride it like a bicycle

Excelent advice, except that people get knocked off push bikes every hour of the day, and the whole going fast when it happens thing.

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Unhappy

@BonesOz

Didnt give up, just couldn't afford the insurance when Ethan came along and made us six.

Baby forces sale, mint CBR66RR, will px for bastard people carrier.

I'll ride again.

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Silver badge

No chance of an IBA "Saddlesore" badge, then?

If it can't do 1000 miles in 24 hours over land[1], it's pretty much useless to me & mine. Same goes for four wheels. Or 18 wheels. Or wings, for that matter ...

[1] I relax when on water ;-)

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Silver badge

HEY!!

"more for the fortyish, midlife-crisis biker who want to create the youth their parents never allowed them..."

I resemble that remark! Do you think the missus would allow it? Bah, I always wanted an Enfield anyway; http://www.enfieldmotorcycles.com/

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two out of three

I had a bike in my youth but I totalled it (and myself) resulting in 8 months lay-up and no bike.

However, now doing the expat thing and one of these babies here in Dubai might work nicely.

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Facepalm

Midlife crisis bike my rrrr

There's just *NO WAY*. That role is reserved for Ducati, Harley, anything over 600cc and the like. This is a cheap commuter bike and as such I'd be happy to swap my little Honda 125 for the 8 miles to work and back through London each day.

Except - it's FAR from cheap. And as noted elsewhere, is silent-but-deadly. My XR does make a racket though, it's a relief to get back in the nice quite dadmobile when I go to pick up the kids.

But - nice idea. Even my little puttputt costs over 8 quid to fill its tiny tank now.

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Anonymous Coward

This regenerative malarky...

... Does the regenerative braking gubbins recover more energy than was expended to get the additional weight of the gubbins up to speed? To my simple brain, it seems to be a spend-a-dollar-to-save-a-dime technology.

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Happy

"This regenerative malarky"

Is basically a slightly different motor and a 4 quadrant power controller with a few more power transistors in the system and a different firing sequence.

Usual estimates are it puts 15% on an EV's range but of course YMMV.

It's a good question how much drivers use their *ears* to detect other traffic and that high whine of a high compression 125cc engine is not most people idea of a full throated roar. In fact it's as irritating as f**k to most people.

Now a (optional) "bike noise simulator" could be quite an interesting accessory. Improves safety, low power, choice of makes and models from monster Kawasaki to bloated BMW

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As it's already electric and the controller can already handle regen then it would just be code.

The only additions would be modifying the controller to support this capability.

The trick with regen is making it proportional, so you don't lose your fillings under braking.

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Ru

Sorry, no perpetual motion machines here

But given the extremely limited energy capacity of electric vehicles, anything that can add ten miles or more to the range is absolutely worth it.

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Anonymous Coward

Going Postal

Australia Post uses motor bikes to deliver mail. This might allow them to sneak up on letter boxes without dogs hearing them.

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I like it...

Sure there are issues, and what is there is not going to replace my R6...

But as first steps it's pretty good I think. I'm a complete speed freak / petrol head, but with the right vehicle I could quite easily be convertd to a speed freak / leccy head! The power source shouldn't be the make or break - the drive / ride should! I just hope they get to a real world bike soon!

It does need some noise though - even the standard exhaust on the R6 works better than the horn...

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Go

actually...

out here in civilised central europe, a leccy bike would be jolly helpful to the daily commute

no white-van-man here

I'd really quite like one of these - tho a 50cc version (equivalent) would allow me to use all the bicycle paths as well. Which would be an added bonus.

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here in civilised central europe

switzerland here. Roads are good and there are enough motor and pedal bikes on the road both in cities and out that cars notice and pay attention. Loud pipes not necessary, although I would want any bike I'm riding to make some sort of noise. Given that it's an electric bike instead of a fake petrol-engine sound, why not go for a helicopter turbine-like crescendo? Would be cool :)

Performance - 88mph is just over 140 km/h, which is plenty for 95% of my riding and only marginally less than the few times i go over that. Sure it's nice to have a theoretical top speed over 200km/h, but if you want to show it off, go to a track day. 88mph is fine for road use. 114 mile range is 182 km - still on the short side of 200km, I can usually get 220-230 km from a full tank of petrol. However considering the technology is still relatively new and evolving, I'll give a big thumbs up - It will break 100mph and 150 miles in a few years, I'll guess.

What really would keep me from buying anything like this, though, is charging time. I can fill a tank and pay for it in 1-2 minutes. Even considering a touring scenario I would say max 30 minutes for a stop, if I can't get 80-90 % charge in 30 minutes it's no good.

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Coat

Death Traps

These Eleccy Vehicles.

I've seen three Priuses involved in RTA's when running in Leccy mode. I blame all the youngsters wearing iPods etc. Many can't hear squat at the volumes they play their R&B/Techno crap at

Right, Coat, Helmet, Boots. Off to fight the traffic on my Tiger-1050.

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Megaphone

Pipe Down

Got to say I largely agree with the sentiment that loud pipes save lives - my 535 Virago has straight-thru Cal slash pipes on it and you can hear it a whole town away. You only really notice how safe you are when you get on your pushbike and some tit in a tin box tries to occupy the same point in space-time!

Having said that, make the bloody driving tests harder and reduce the amount of nobheads on the roads! AND make them drive with earmuffs on so they actually learn to use their fugging EYES once in a while!

</rant> <breathe>

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Anonymous Coward

This is clearly not the bike for people who want to do huge 'route 66' type tours and blast up and down country lanes - but as a commuter sounds a great idea. Probably costs almost nothing to fill up and the range should be within most peoples commutes.

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Impressed by the price!

An electric vehicle for NOT silly money? $7-14000 USD? I'm actually finaly impressed......

Not that i'd buy one, i'll stick to my 'blade thanks!

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Ru
Unhappy

Well, to a point...

But the road price over here will be more like £8-20k, I'll bet. Maybe not as low as that.

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Bronze badge

I've had a few too many accidents to feel interested in a bike, and I can see how it wouldn't suit everyone, but with that range, performance, and lifespan, it does make sense.

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Anonymous Coward

what counts as 'production'?

The eTracer seems to have it beaten on most counts, even if the price is much steeper. How many do you need to make before it counts as production? The MonoTracer it's based on isn't exactly high volume either!

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Commuter bike

Up here in Scotland it would make a decent commuter bike. Yes there are idiots on the road, but far fewer than there seem to be in places like Birmingham and London (from my experience). 100 miles on a charge? That could do me nicely.

Yet to find anything that beast the Blackbird for tugging luggage around for a day and going for a blast at the end of it, though!

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Missing the point?

As always with electric vehicles, the majority talk about what the technology can't do and how it is totally useless... and by virtue, missing the point.

If you want to commute every day by motorbike, and your commute is less than 40 miles each way (leaving some reserve to get home on should unforeseen circumstances), then this sounds like a workable option. If you want to travel further, then, for the time being you will have to rely on conventional fuel sources.

It will take a long time for attitudes and expectations to change and adjust. Perhaps when only the rich can afford petrol, electric transport will be taken seriously.

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not really

the hassle of charging EACH night without fail is still fairly useless. A nice CB600 hornet could be had for less money (or the same including insurance and fuel for a couple of years) and whilst costing more to run will be infinitely more fun to ride.

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