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News Why The Next Motorcycle You Buy Could Be Electric

Discussion in 'Motorcycling News' started by NetriderBot, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. It might not seem like it now but electric motorcycles are about to get a whole lot more common. Within the next few years, every major Japanese manufacturer will have an electric motorcycle available to buy in their showrooms and the Americans and Europeans are already leading the way. Let’s take a look at what the next generation of motorcycle is going to look like.

    Zero Motorcycles

    Zero is currently numero uno when it comes to accessible electric motorcycles. Sure, they’re still expensive when you compare them to traditional internal combustion engine powered bikes but they’re also not ridiculously priced out of the average person’s reach either. And Zero looks like it will continue to go from strength to strength.

    They recently announced the receipt of a grant from the Californian State Government and a subsequent price reduction across the range. But for alll that, Zero remains a very niche player. For that reason we wouldn’t be surprised if they were bought out in the near future. Perhaps by another American firm…



    The legendary cruiser company surprised everyone with their Project Livewire concept but since the hype has died down it hasn’t looked as hot as we’d first hoped. In fact, it’s likely that Project LIvewire is years away from release with Matt Levatich, President and CEO of HD saying the following late last year:

    “Its range is 50 miles, but customers are looking for 100… If the electric bike were mass-produced today it would sell for about $50,000, about 50% more than customers would want to pay”

    Project Livewire also isn’t a completely in-house product. Harley-Davidson sought assistance from Mission Motorcycles on the drive train. If H-D is truly serious about entering the electric motorcycle game, they’re far better off buying an established manufacturer such as Zero instead of trying to develop the technology on their own.


    Victory Motorcycles

    Which is exactly what the parent company of Victory Motorcycles, Polaris did earlier this year. Victory purchased Brammo, Zero’s only real competitor in the ‘mass produced’ electric motorcycle game.

    Victory will be entering an electric motorcycle in this weeks Isle of Man TT, indicating that they will be releasing a sportsbike based on the Brammo Empulse as early as this year. Polaris is cashed up so expect them to make a real push into the electric game. And unlike Zero, they have the resources and large dealer network for it to really happen.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    BMW Motorrad

    Out of all the big players, BMW was the first with an electric two-wheeler. Sure, it’s a scooter but nevertheless, BMW has the technology in place to translate that into a commercially available electric motorcycle. The BMW C Evolution scooter was released in 2013 and produces 35 kW (48 bhp) and 72 Nm of torque which provides more pace than entry level sportsbikes and quite a bit more than the average scooter.

    Range is a moderate 100km which makes it adequate for city riding – something plenty of motorcycle riders could be interested in as well. While BMW Motorrad don’t have any immediate plans to release an electric motorcycle, they’ve already got more runs on the board than their competitors.



    But BMW aren’t alone with the release of an electric two-wheeler. In fact, KTM has gone a step better with an electric powered dirt bike, the KTM Freeride E. The Freeride E has gotten nowhere near the amount of publicity it deserves – this is the first electric motorcycle from a traditional motorcycle manufacturer.

    Electric dirtbikes should be more appealing than sportsbikes – one of the biggest issues with dirtbikes is the noise they produce. Countless local tracks have been closed due to urban sprawl as well as complaints from rural residents when riders (legally or illegally) take to the trails. With near silent electric powertrains, such issues vanish.

    The advantages of electric dirtbikes don’t stop with (lack of) noise. The KTM Freeride E weighs only 110kg which is actually less than the fully fueled petrol powered KTM Freeride 250 R, which the Freeride E’s chassis is based on. Add to that the instantaneous 31.0 ft-lb. of torque from the get go and you have a serious off road machine. KTM is following up the initial Freeride E with an electric supermoto later this year – sure to be a huge hit.



    It’s a real guessing game as to which of the Japanese manufacturers will jump first, but if we were asked to put money on it we’d say it would be Yamaha. In 2013 they unveiled two concepts, the PES1 sportsbike and PED1 dirtbike. Since then, Yamaha has registered a number of patents relating to the two bikes and our sources indicate they could be released as early as next year.

    The patents indicate that the batteries for the bikes will be swappable and will actually be the same design for both machines which means reduced costs of manufacture. Interestingly, buyers may be able to ‘upgrade’ their bike after purchase by installing a third battery with little to no modifications to the bike.

    At the concept launch, Yamaha stated that the PES1 weighed less than 221 pounds, and the PED1 weighed less than 187 pounds. Another interesting fact is that Yamaha will employ DC motors instead of AC which all other electric manufacturers use.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    If Yamaha does end up being the first of the Japanese producers to release an electric motorcycle then we think Suzuki might come in a close second. We reported only a few weeks ago that Suzuki had updated a number of its patents in relation to its Extrigger concept from 2013.

    This Honda Grom sized bike was first shown off in concept form and now Suzuki, like it’s doing with its Suzuki Recursion concept, is filing numerous patents in relation to the machine. While not guaranteed, it usually means that the company has plans on bringing the concepts to production.

    And if any manufacturer needs to do something interesting, it’s Suzuki.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    The green machine have shown that they’re not shy when it comes to using different technologies as the supercharged Ninja H2 and H2R clearly displayed. Kawasaki have filed numerous patents over the years relating to electric powered Ninjas, including ones where batteries can be easily swapped out.

    But perhaps even more telling was that earlier this year, Kawasaki registered a number of trademarks in Europe, the US and Japan for machines called the Ninja E2 and E2-R with conjecture being the E stands for ‘Electric’.

    That said, we believe that Kawasaki will remain focused on its forced induction technology for now which provides both reductions in fuel consumption and emissions- a big part of the reason for going down the alternative energy route to begin with.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    This one is out of left field, but we’re not the first to venture the idea that Tesla may get into the electric motorcycle game. They most certainly are at the forefront of the electric car industry and it wouldn’t be a difficult step to cross the bridge into battery powered motorcycles.

    That said, most industry observers think it unlikely that Tesla will enter into the motorcycle game. Tesla is still a low volume, high margin business with their cheapest car costing $57,500. There’s enough demand in the car industry for such priced vehicles, but expensive motorcycles are niche items at best.

    Regardless of what Tesla ends up doing, the electric motorcycle landscape is going to drastically change over the next few years and for the better. And the more competition in the sector, the quicker prices will drop and the faster the improvement in range will occur.

    The post Why The Next Motorcycle You Buy Could Be Electric appeared first on TheRideAdvice.com.

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  2. The way the world is going. Which is why I'm driving a V8 now, I feel my next cage will be electric....
  3. Guarantee me a 400km range and 75 continuous killowatts and hell might freeze over. For me they've got under 3 years maybe 18 months, yeah I don't think it's even remotely likely my next bike will be electric.
  4. I wouldn't touch an electric vehicle that uses rechargeable batteries, sure it might have an okay(not good) range when you first get it, but 5 years later of riding it every day and charging it every night and you probably won't have half the range you started with.
    Once hydrogen cells are in, maybe I'll consider it, but I am holding onto hope that some new tech will come along that actually makes a noise that stirs the soul, like internal combustion can, or just simply an alternative fuel so I can keep using my old bikes.
  5. Yeahhhhh....My next bike definitely won't be electric.

    I like to keep it simple. I still drive cars with no power steering or air-con. My Torana doesn't even have a radio lol.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Electric bikes ARE very simple though?
  7. Na, to much fcukery for me. I can fix my cars, but I'm no electrician.
  8. #8 Bjpitt, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
    What's to fix?

    An brushless electric motor will never die.
    Battery, well you already have one on a IC engine motorbike.
    Electronic Speed Control unit, complex yes, but so is a IC engine ECU.

    You don't have to worry about
    Engine oil
    Oil cooler
    Spark plugs
    Air filter
    Fuel filter
    Fuel pump
    Fuel injectors
    Valve adjustements
    Stator or regulator

    Now you are going to say, well my car/bike isn't fuel injected, it's a carby. Well electric is simple, you set and forget. No choke, no readjusting for temp or altitude. And that's another point, an electric motorbike that makes 100KW's will make that regardless if you are on Mt Everest or even under water - no air intake!
    • Like Like x 3
  9. All valid points, and I do own/work on EFI cars as well.

    But I know all the stuff you've listed there and can generally diagnose and fix it at home.

    Part of it I guess is that I enjoy working on the old stuff, not much of that list is hard.

    Either way, each to there own. I'll stick to my dinosaurs and even wave as you fly past on your whizbang electrocity (y)
  10. I'm not disregarding your other points, just wanted to point out that a battery running a few basics, compared to a battery doing everything are very different scenarios.
    The batteries for IC bikes are cheap and rarely require maintenance, a bike that uses it all the time for everything is going to require charging frequently, and cost a lot more to replace.
    It's just way too inconvenient, especially the range(which will only get worse the longer you own it) and charging times.
    Anyway, I'm happy with how things are at the moment and I'll be sad if electric becomes the only option but I'll eventually adopt it if there's no better alternative.
  11. The Zero SR that I test rode, before the price reduction, was something over twentyfive grand. :-(

    From their current list, in the US, they show 2015 Zero SR
    $15,995, dunno how much they want now, here in Oz.

    I was super impressed with the bike, and, had I still been working and commuting into the city, I'd have been very serious about getting one.

    The range limitation, for me, would dictate that I'd also have to keep a "real" motorcycle for the times I actually want to go someplace far.....<shrug> I can, and do, live with multiple machines already.

    I still want to know if I wave my Seniors Card, would I be allowed to ride the Zero inside shopping centres. :)
  12. As a daily commuter now, the idea of an electric motorcycle is very appealing indeed.

    Though they need to be cheaper, and to have some assurance that the bike itself doesn't have a shelf life of 5 years or so before the battery dies.
  13. #13 SIKKO_X2, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
    I only ride my bikes on nice days that I’m not working, so for me it’s all about the character of the bike (I have 2x mid 90’s Honda’s). While the performance of electric bikes is there the range isn’t yet, making it a bit risky to go for extended rides through the twisties etc.

    Plus I enjoy working on the mechanicals of my bikes. I like being able to tinker and modify things to my taste.

    For these reasons I wouldn't consider an electric bike, but who knows what will be available in the future.
  14. I doubt I would ever consider an Electric motorbike. I would use my 2012 Z1000 as the benchmark because I like this bike so much. These are my requirements:
    Comfort: the seat, ergonomics and styling would have to be as good or better than my Z
    Range: 240 between refills and no more that 10 mins to fully recharge for another 240K range minimum day or night.
    Weight: not weigh more than 221kg with similar or better weight centralization for good handling
    Performance: Acceleration, braking and handling to match or exceed my Z1000
    Price: no more than $1000 premium over current price for a Z1000.

    I doubt whether any manufacturer will achieve these results, particularly the recharge time parameter. I don't believe that Electric is the way to go. If we ever run out of oil to make petrol, there are so many alternatives to make petrol from that I doubt we will run out in my lifetime.

    I believe that bikes like cars will become more fuel efficient and cleaner for the environment but still run on petrol or equivalent fuels.

    As for Mass Transit (Trains, Busses, Trams etc) they are far too inconvenient to ever be a viable alternative for anyone except the dwindling minority who travel into the city and back every day.

    All the stupid greenies that have their heads up their arses and want to stop infrastructure improvements need to wake up and recognise the reality of the situation, personal transport is hear to stay and the only solution to congestion is improved roads networks and infrastructure.
  15. no to electric. i don't want to have to consider which route i should take so it doesn't die with no top up ability.... stranded just what i wanted
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. I would be very keen to get on an electric bike. Instant power and no gearbox also no clutch! Check out Loz's review of the Lightning. Goes like a missile.

    Needs a few improvements in the battery technology and it will be all go.

    Of course it will be in addition to standard bikes not instead of :)
  17. Here's another reason why I will not buy any of these terrible things: They all seems to use the same piece of archaic rubbish the telescopic fork, why?
  18. My thoughts - electric bikes (at least for now) are just another type of motorcycle. We've got dirt bikes, adventure bikes, cruisers, sportsbikes, etc. To me they don't replace ICE bikes, they're an option for people who have a particular like for something with instant delivery of full torque. Maybe in 20 years they'll replace ICE, but for now, they're just another option. If Yamaha release that bike in the picture above as is, it'd be a huge success. Looks friggin awesome.
  19. I might consider an electric bike as a commuter but I can't see one working as an 'only bike' simply because the range for touring isn't there (yet).

    A 250km range between top ups is ok but a 'several hours' recharge isn't when one is looking to travel 500 to 1000kms during a day.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Electric bikes are for the short sighted greenies. Their production is more carbon intensive than a conventional bike. Plus the pollution from their heavy metal batteries once then break down and won't hold charge, seriously degrades their green characteristics. Plus in Australia, most of our electricity is produced from Dirty coal, not from clean green renewable resources. So there again, the pollution footprint of an electric bike is not nearly as good at it first seems on the surface.

    I see electric bikes as a gimmick, similar to the reclining rear seats in the Mitsubishi Sigma from the 1980's
    • Winner Winner x 1