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An electric motorbike

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by ozego, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. This guy has built an electric motorcycle that actually works. It would be wierd to ride something so quiet that I didn't have to pedal. It must be really light without the engine too.


  2. While the idea of an electric motorbike is great, actually riding one would be less fun.

    No gears to shift through and you miss out on the sound of explosions (an especially big loss for the v-twins).
  3. Depends, you can make a light electric vehicle or you can make a heavy electric vehicle which is capable of going faster than walking pace and further than just the end of the street and back. Batteries aren't that light and neither are high output electric motors - at least not compared to a small all-alloy petrol engine. And of course there's still the problem with batteries only having a limited lifespan (so cost of replacement needs to be considered when working out the running cost).
  4. For sure it wouldn't be as fun, but it's still a pretty cool little project even if it isn't economical. I wish I had the know-how and patience to do stuff like that.
  5. For a commuter, an electric bike might turn out to be ideal, but I still think I'd rather be wringing the neck of my VTwin through the twisties.
  6. I'd love to modify my old across to electric, but the cost would be rather high. You'd probably have to build your own electric motor and speed controller (a brushless motor is the only way to go due to efficiency reasons). I'd probably want to keep some sort of gearing as well to keep the motor in it's most efficient range. Batteries would probably just be a lot of lithium polymers or lithium ions (not cheap). The range probably wouldn't be too far either, but it could easily be enough for commuting. Just plug it in to charge when you get home. The best thing though is they can be phenomenally powerful since you can dump a lot of power through an electric motor.

    Tesla motors (http://www.teslamotors.com) are creating a sports car along these lines.

    A class of model sailplanes called "hotliners" (or flying welders) run along similar principles. They drain their batteries quickly at full acceleration, but the performance is mindblowing. Thinking about it, five hotliner setups would equal the max power output of a small 250 (15 kW) and would easily weigh less than 10kg. Add another 20kg of lithium polymer cells and you could ride at full power output for at least 9 - 10 minutes. Not sure if the motors could handle full power constantly though. Expensive too.
  7. There's a company already selling electric dirtbikes (http://www.electricross.com/). 19hp with a 50-60km range and top speed of 60kph using Lithium-Polymer batteries and a brushed motor with a programmable speed controller. So not quite as powerful as a 250cc bike but on a par with a lot of scooters. Be a bit worried about Li-Po batteries though - given their annoying habit of exploding.
  8. They have a bad reputation, but I don't think they are quite as bad as they are made out. Treated correctly they appear to be reasonably safe. A properly designed speed controller and charging circuit should take care of most of the problems.

    Impact damage is a concern, though the newer cells don't seem to suffer from problems here as much as the older Lipo cells. I've squished a lipo cell to half it's length and it didn't do anything. I've seen numerous other impacts resulting in destruction of the lipo's, but no explosions.

    I think most of the early problems arose from poor treatment (overdischarge or overcharging) or just issues with a new technology. Still something to be careful of though. NiMH or Li ions may be preferable, just considerably heavier.
  9. Apparently the Prius battery pack weighs about 50kg and should be able to deliver 15 kW for about 7 minutes. You could probably put that in a bike. These are NiMH, which are considerably heavier than the lithium technologies.
  10. Yeah, but they're also worth around $3,000 (and I believe that price is subsidised by Toyota to try and boost sales of hybrids). Given that the batteries only have a 5 year life that's going to have a significant impact on running cost - especially given how cheap a small bike or scooter is to run. That's the biggest problem with hybrids at the moment - long term a similar sized petrol or diesel engined vehicle can be just as cheap, or even cheaper, to run.
  11. Hey, that's a nice bike.

    AC powered huh? What's the longest extention lead they sell? :p

    Stuff it - I'll just buy a petrol gen. set. :LOL:
  12. That price will include the large amount of electronics etc. that goes into one of those packs. They also have quite a considerable life-span in lab testing (290,000 km), so you would have to try hard to wear it out.
    Making an equivalent pack from off the shelf cells at retail price is about US$1938 if you wire them all together youself and don't get a volume discount (which I think you would for 456 cells :LOL: ). It would also weigh about 30 kg. The cost of batteries should really be considered the cost of fuel, since charging them up is going to be hardly anything.

    But it is clear that there is some way to go before these become affordable and practical. What is exciting is that technology has advanced enough to make them feasable and not entirely unaffordable. This probably means it isn't too far off before these start to be seen on the roads. And when the technology really gets pushed you can achieve some phenomonal performance (cf. the Tesla Roadster).
  13. I just find how crazy the fuel efficiency of prius' are. My mate's family has about 5 of them in his family and he gets 4L/100kms on highways, max of 5 rest of the time. And those little things weigh 2 tonnes I believe.
  14. Yeah but as Top Gear revealed the VW Lupo turbodiesel uses even less fuel than a Prius (only around 3L/100km), costs less to buy AND offers better straight line performance. It's also worth noting the Prius made it into their list of the 10 worst handling cars.
  15. I think the Prius is a love or hate type thing. I'm not sure which one Top Gear reviewed, but the latest version is more powerful than the original. Still nothing that would excite a petrol head.

    I think they really shine in city traffic where the regenerative braking really makes a difference compared to most vehicles.
  16. Jeremy Clarkson is a real rev head, nothing seems to excite him more than a great big powerful engine.
    However I think if he was behind the wheel of something like a tesla roadster he would be impressed.
    And then spend the rest of the review absolutely bagging the price and limited range... :LOL:
  17. He is hilarious when he's having a good whinge about something.
  18. Yeah but on the highway the extra weight of battery/motor etc. puts them at a disadvantage. There's also the fact that if they're just cruising along on full electric they're damn quiet - which could cause problems with pedestrians (though I reckon those that don't look deserve to get run over :twisted:). Don't really have anything against hybrids, I just get a little annoyed at reviews/articles hyping how fantastic they are and completely overlooking the obvious disadvantages - in particular the cost of replacing batteries I mentioned earlier. Plus they're environmental "friendliness" is questionable. Sure fuel economy is good but there's a lot of energy/resources expended in the manufacture of the extra components compared to the average small car (ie battery/motor) - plus there's the question of what happens to all the dead batteries. Bio-diesel is easily the best solution at the moment since although they burn fuel they're effectively carbon neutral (what they emit is taken up by the plants used to produce the next batch of fuel)- plus there's already a huge number of European turbodiesels of all sizes available that will run on biofuel without any modification (depending of course on what fuel is used).
  19. But the great thing about hybrids is that they are a transition technology. Sure they may not be as good as some alternatives, but they are resulting in further development of the electric car. They will gradually get more efficient and cheaper. Down the track they may evolve into fuel cell powered electric cars or something like that.

    Note: at least in some countries, the warranty on the Prius battery pack is 8 years or 160,000 km, and is expected to last the life of the car. A press release from Toyota in mid 2004 claimed that they had not replaced one battery due to wear and tear (http://pressroom.toyota.com/Releases/View?id=TYT2004062345528)
  20. [​IMG]
    THIS is a burnout on the Killacycle, claimed to be the world's fastest electric motorcycle:
    http://www.gizmag.com.au/go/4083/- Gizmag article "the coming of the electric motorcycle