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Zero X Electric Dirt bike + solar power talk

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by robsalvv, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. Came across an article about a new electric dirt bike, the Zero X: http://www.popularmechanics.com/blogs/automotive_news/4272872.html



    It's not my cuppa tea, but electric powered vehicles/bikes are looking more and more like the way of the future.
  2. Could be the way of the future.
    Lack of power & range until a recharge is needed makes it a very short commuter. Hopefully like everything else, technology will soon find a fix.
  3. Looks kinda cool, I'd like to take it for a ride.

    The lack of an exhaust sound would suck though, I love the sound of my dirtbike during a good thrashing :grin:
  4. Looks like they've drawn on MTB (rather than motorcycle) technology to keep the weight of the cycle parts down. Interesting.

    Dunno about Popular Mechanics as a reliable source though. Shouldn't we all have got flying cars about 1965? :wink: .
  5. The light weight and lack of petrol would make it a lot easier to transport - should be able to chuck it in the back of the average wagon/soft-roader which saves the hassle of having to hitch up a trailer or buy a ute.
    In fact something like that could become quite popular with people into off-roading, something to have a bit of fun with once you're at the campsite without risking breaking your ride home.
  6. Wow it looks cool. So light and still reasonably powerful (17.4kw).
    Pity it could empty its battery in what... 7 minutes?

    They say the next one could (with its 3kw battery) have a range of 60miles.
    Thats not even 100km. Why not just buy a harley :LOL:

    Having said that, I love the idea of electric engines - twist and go. Makes hillstarts and drags very easy.
  7. I'm sure I've seen another, much more credible, electric dirtbike project. Think I blogged about it, actually, so it should be easy to dig up...

    {scritch, scratch, dig}

    Yeah, here it is: http://www.bravus.com/blog/?p=947
  8. I want one. *nod*
  9. 'Zero', that stands for its range, does it?
    Yeah, I know the article talks about 40 miles, but I reckon these would be 'Vectrix miles' In real world they will translate to about 10 minutes of spirited riding...
  10. It looks like one of my mountain bikes and so if I ride it like that should be a lot of fun. Can imagine some of my secret single tracks would be a lot of fun. :cool: :cool:
  11. Rant warning, severe rant ahead. Detour via scrolling down.

    Electric motorbikes and cars, what a laugh. Seriously, where do people think the electricity is coming from? The combined goodwill of officeworkers, distilled from their thoughts over lunch? Yeah, right. Word:


    Gnarly, dude, hate to bust that dime of knowledge on you...but it had to be done. So back to the electrically powered obsoleteness of the concept. Essentially its a great idea if you can use waste-free nuclear power or unlimited solar or hydroelectric power but could still be trumped by fuel-cell technology or electrolysis of water, the latter being preferable because we get to keep internal combustion engines and don't have to overhaul a century of techonological acheivment. Not totally anyway.

    Also, a lot of people might promote wind-generated electricity. Not me. The amount of energy that goes into producing, erecting, levelling, maintaining and monitoring a wind generation turbine is immense and makes them one of the most expensive and rescource-consuming methods of electricity production per unit of output. Not to mention downtime due to low or high windspeed.

    Seriously, get rid of electrically powered personal transport media and focus on developing the hydrogen economy. More feasible in the short term, as well as more pleasing to those who revere the nostalgic grumble of internal combustion engines.

    Rant definitively over.

    EDIT: Other than my dislike of us adopting electricity as a main form of fuel in personal transportation...it does look like it might give an off-road hoot or two! Sorry for any confusion there :LOL:
  12. At the moment it does, but it has the advantage of being flexible - it can just as easily come from any other source and nothing else needs changing. Hydrogen on the other hand requires putting in a whole infrastructure for distributing it... and correct me if I'm wrong, but it still needs to be produced somehow, doesn't it?

    We should be using nuclear energy, of course. If we could only get over this by now deeply-ingrained fear of all things nuclear, we could be already producing huge amounts of energy. Nuclear plants of designs that exist right now would have a lot less environmental impact than oil/coal ones. The only thing that stops us is prejudice, fear and politics.. as usual.
  13. Was going to say the same thing, the advantage of electric vehicles is that the power source can be so easily change, wether it is; solar, wind, coal, nuclear, hydrogen fuel cell, diesel generator whatever. The main point is that you could take existing infastructure and upgrade it as people slowly change over to electric (so economically it isn't as hard to justify cause it could be streached out over a 20 year time frame). Yes i love my petrol engine but this is just me thinking from an my engineering point of view, what determines if something will work is half engineering and half economics.
  14. Boingk, producing and using electric power is more efficient than producing and using petrol power. As a result, when you take an electric vehicle and it's fossil fuel powered equivalent, and compare their impact over the same travelled distance, the electric one still comes out ahead on a GHG point of view.

    i.e., driving x km under battery power will impact less on the environment than the same vehicle under petrol power.

    So boingk, your rant may not be quite right.

    By the way, I'm all for the hydrogen thing, just be aware power is needed to electrolyse water for Hydrogen production, so hydrogen is not a free kick. You can't mine hydrogen... though it is effeciently produced in the production of petrol! Ironic that.

    CBR, Nuclear is in no way a free kick either and that is not blind prejudice. Fusion energy might be a free kick, but fission energy is another thing altogether! There are extremely long lived pollution issues, plus when you look at the total lifecycle of a nuclear power station versus a fossil fuel powered one, it's not cut and dried in nuclear's favour... but that does seem to depend on who's making the estimate!

    For some general discussion on the topic:

    For similar discussion from the nuclear side of the argument:

    Anyway, dunno if I'm the only one, but the more I look at the ZeroX (or Bravus's linked) electric powered dirt bike... I find myself thinking that it might be fun to have one.... if only for the new gadget factor! :grin:
  15. I never said it is a free kick. For sure, it has some issues of its own. The thing is, the issues can be worked on and in fact many solutions already exist but the general public has this attitude of sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting La-la-la-chernobyl-la-la-la-can't-hear-you as soon as they hear the word 'nuclear'.

    But no amount of chanting is going to change the fact that fossil fuels are running out and we WILL have to find alternatives. Nuclear energy might not be a perfect solution, but it is one that is not a pie in the sky - we already have all the technology needed to use it and we could be doing it right now, not just as an experiment but on the full scale commercial basis.
  16. Nah mate, there are some clear and substantial reasons why nuclear has hair on it. Some of the folk might stick their fingers in their ears, but that's the minority of folk.

    What about the nuclear companies who are going lalalalalalaaa about the waste they produce. The stuff lasts 250000 years... the best containment designs they currently have MIGHT last 1000...

    When you weigh up the resources and risks, alternatives start to look much much better.
  17. We live in the most sun-rich arid landscape on the planet.

    Solar power energy is in the order of 400W per square meter.

    Reflective solar power towers, while not THE most efficient method of coverting solar energy into another energy format, is still fairly decent at around 25-30% efficiency.

    All up, we could be looking at around 100W per square meter of solar power that's easily extracted if we invest in it now. 1 sq. km. of land area =~ 1GWh per day of power generation.

    100 sq.km, which seems like a lot but really isn't when we're talking about feeding the power needs of an entire country of ~8M sq. kms in size (Australia), provides ~100GWh/day. In summary, that's a f*cking sh*tload of power/energy. The average house consumes around 12kWh/day. Basically we'd be supplying enough energy for 8M homes, or pretty much the entire civilian needs of the entire country.

    Let's say that the average commute trip, each way, is 1hr in total, and consumes an average of 25kWh 'cos we're a leadfooted bunch, so basically we need to triple our solar energy output to supply the energy needs for the working public as well.

    So, maybe looking upwards of 500sq.km. of solar power tower arrays to completely service the civilian and industry power needs of the country, which would be a complex about the size of the Geelong metro area, stuck somewhere out in the middle of the Simpson Desert, and we'd be set as a country for power needs for pretty much forever.

    Seems like a big job. Of course it's a big job. It could be done in stages though. Each power tower array would be around 1sq.km. in size, you they'd be built in that sort of step sizes.

    For power storage for nighttime/downtime, split water into hydrogen with the excess power during the day and then combust that in furnaces to generate the required power at night. The only discharge is steam, which should be captured and used to preheat in the incoming water streams into the generators so no power is wasted.

    The entire setup could be one entire self-contained, completely zero emissions (not even emitting warm air as that's captured and steam vapor condensed back into water which is then re-split into hygrogen again during the day).

    As for the public, we could all be driving around in our hydrogen fuelled cars and bikes, emitting warm steam as our only emissions. All our goods would have vastly reduced carbon footprints because all of the energy consumed to produce those goods came from the zero-footprint solar power production facility.

    All we have to do is invest in it, and build it.
  18. Flux's vision might happen in our life time, with sun light being directly converted to electricity rather than reflected heat as per thermal tower set ups.

    There's heaps of stuff on the net regarding high efficiency photovoltaic cells, including a whole new category called organic photovoltaic cells, or plastic photovoltaic cells. And there's even noise about about improving manufacturing techniques reducing the manufacturing costs making current cells commercially viable.

    Anyway here's a handful of links on improving efficiency:


    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070502153700.htm talks about making standard silicon PV cells more efficient... couple that with the new manufacturing methods and even standard technology could be a goer...