Sunday, February 10, 2008
About electric motorcycles? Here is one made by Lightning Motors. The bike is based on the Yamaha R1, which, at 1000cc, does not have a small engine from the factory. The R1 is one of the highest performing motorcycles on the roads today, and is a bit of a status symbol. The conversion is slightly ungainly, because of the box-like lithium ion batteries hanging from the frame spars. The article also speaks of charging the bike using solar panels, which is an intriguing possibility for an electric cycle, as they should need fewer hours of charging for the distance required to travel in comparison to a heavier, more powerful electric car.
Austin, Texas is certainly one of the leaders in the electric vehicle movement. The city has been thinking about ways to make a smart grid and plug-in hybrids a reality for a while, and city leaders are making the electric vehicles available today more affordable. Buyers of electric bikes, scooters and cars in the city can get rebates for their purchases. According to local TV station KVUE, the city handed out around $4,000 for 47 electric vehicles (so, around $85 a vehicle, and the money comes from Austin Energy) in 2007. Stacy Neef, Coordinator of the Clean Cities Program in Austin, told KVUE that, "There are several thing already in place to reduce vehicular emission in the Austin area and Central Texas, so this really does help to eliminate emissions." Keep it up, Austin. Related: Carbon emissions awareness, the Texas edition Austin, Texas, has visions of plug-in hybrids powering grid during peak hours Austin, TX wants to go with smart grid and plug-in hybrids
Piaggio, the scooter maker best known for making Vespa, will be the first to sell electric vehicles in Isreal, in just one month. According to Ha'aretz, the electric vehicles will be Piaggio's Porter brand, small multipurpose vans (MPV) which come in five types, including models with payload tippers. The vans have 12 or 14 horsepower engines, a top speed of 36 MPH and 155-mile range on a full charge, which takes about two hours from a normal home outlet. The van will cost 120,000 Israeli Shekels ($33,018 US dollars).Why is Paggio doing this now? Israel recently instated a "green tax" on cars hoping to develop their electric car market. A Paggio company spokesman says they have won approval "in principle" for the tax breaks on the purchase price of cars. Project Better Place and Renault were the first companies to come out in support of Israel's push for electric cars but it's open to any green car maker. I fully expect many more automakers to sign up just like they did with Thailand's government program.
Leonardo DiCaprio bought a Vectrix plug-in electric scooter. Ecorazzi loves them up some Leo, writing about when he graced the cover of Vanity Fair's green issue and later produced the very green documentary the 11th Hour (see trailer below the fold). Leo on a Vectrix is really not that surprising if you remember that Ecorazzi caught Leo on a scooter before.Along with being very green, the design of the Vectrix is almost bike like. From certain angles, you could mistake it for a bullet bike. Hey Leo, when it's released, we recommend also picking up an Enertia, the electric bike that AutoblogGreen took Enertia for a test drive and we really liked it. You should also check out the Tesla Roadster. They are starting to hit the roads and Matt Damon is getting one.
The Electric Runabout, made by Columbia, was the first electric car ridden in by a U.S. President. That historical event happened over 105 years ago, in case you were wondering. The 1903 Columbia Electric Runabout had a 40-mile range and, like most electric cars of the era, was very popular with female drivers. While that 40-mile range sound wicked good compared to today's electric cars (and concept cars), the Runabout was really more like a Walkabout since its top speed was a solid 14 miles per hour - downhill. The car was powered by a 40-volt, 30 amp motor from General Electric and cost $850 back at the beginning of the last century. While Columbia went out of business in 1911, you can see the Runabout this coming week as part of the historical display corner of the Chicago Auto Show (this is the 100th show, after all) hidden way in the back of the show floor. %
If you like the Enertia but not the price tag, consider Yamaha's Electric Commuter EC-02. It's just $2,000. It looks a lot like the Enertia electric bike, just smaller and much slower. The Enertia's top speed is 50 MPH while the EC-02 can only go 18 MPH. Enertia says their "bikes are not associated with Yamaha. The Enertia design is a clean sheet (not a conversion or extension of a previous design) and was built from conception to be the first street legal production electric motorcycle." EC-02 is 30 percent recyclable and it can fold away easily. There is a special Ipod edition of the EC-02. That version lets you drop your Ipod in a special dock. You can also swap out the battery in the EC-02. It's pretty tiny and slow but I guess it shows the Enertia is worth the cost. If you ever said, make a cheaper Enertia, well, here is something like what you would get. Go below the fold to see the EC-02 in the wild.[
wonder when I will have driven or ridden in an electric vehicle enough times that the (comparative) silence of the ride doesn't immediately make me go, "hey, it's quiet out." It's not like I expect my bicycle to sound like I've got an engine strapped to the frame, so it's not that I always equate an engine sound with moving, I just equate that sound with moving fast. When ICEs become less and less common in the coming decades, this is going to be one of those cultural shifts that it will be fun to watch happen. The sound won't truly leave popular culture any time soon - I mean, just look at the sound of a needle coming off of a vinyl record, and how many people even have a record player any more? - but it's coming. I can tell you right now that it didn't happen to me at EVS23: I was totally amazed by my nearly silent zips around the hotel parking lot.
There's obviously only so much you can do in a parking lot, especially when you're worried about wiping out in a unique and expensive vehicle (there are only four of these bikes currently in existence, and the two that Brammo brought to EVS23 have design and technical differences. Check out these pics - 1, 2 - for examples. One obvious difference is that the chain is on opposite sides). Still, I found the longest stretch of straitaway and pushed it up to 25 mph before running out of room. Not that fast, and only about half of the bike's top speed, but enough to tell that when you need to punch it, the Enertia will not disappoint you. There's no question that the Enertia feels good on the road.
Now, for the greenest drivetrain of all, a human-electric hybrid. Not the first, mind you, but one of three new ones from Schwinn. The Campus, World GSE and Continental models are all electric-assisted bicycles, ranging between a modest (hah!) $1,499-$1,999. They come with 21- and 24-speed transmissions for your legs, and a 24V 400W electric hub motor in the front wheel, controlled by a throttle on the handlebar, which itself can propel the bike up to 18 mph. Range from the easily removable lithium-ion battery on the rear rack is rated at about 60 miles per charge, depending on wind, terrain and load, and takes 4 hours to recharge - something one could easily do at the office, if needed.
It's said that the electric motor feels as though someone is giving you a push - disorienting at first, but once one is used to it, feels less like exercise and more like sight-seeing. The 'hybrid drivetrain' - minus you - weighs only 10 pounds, and the bike itself is engineered to be extremely light-weight. Definitely more of a cruiser and less of a performance tourer, the Campus model (as tested by the Chicago Sun-Times) could easily eliminate the need to burn anything but calories on a large percentage of your errands or work commutes in cooperative weather. Given that range, and you doing half the work pedaling, I'd estimate you would get at least 140 miles per latte.
The Electrobike pi is very very expensive! Alright, now that we're through with that, let's analyze this electric bike, known as Pi. The frame is an aluminum monocoque, meaning that it is a single piece made up of metal which is all a similar thickness. Moving on to the electrics, the batteries are nickel metal hydride, not the better-but-pricier lithium ion. The motor is a 36-volt brushless DC model which produces about 1 horsepower, or 750 watts. Of course, add your human power to that power amount if you are willing to pedal. In case you were wondering, you are capable of producing much less than one horsepower! If you are willing to pay the $7,500 (!) asking price!If you do manage to cough up the money, you will be rewarded with an electric bike capable of less than 30 miles per hour box-stock. The bike has the power to go faster and can be geared to do so, but you'll need a motorcycle license for that. The asking price does include a designer helmet... The circular frame is probably where the name came from, you think?
One very cool piece of technology buried in that aluminum frame is the NuVinci planetary gearbox. This piece of hardware allows the bike to change gear ratios without actually manually switching gears. Click here for more on that. If you can afford the bike, you may also be able to spend the extra $1,800 for the solar charger, which further lowers your carbon footprint. Speaking of that footprint, just about any electric bike will offer similar CO2 output, but the Pi from Electrobike is designed with the reduction of emissions in mind, so you can feel good about that. Unless you get the gas/electric hybrid model which seems to fly in the face of the rest of the concept. If anybody actually does get one of these, make sure to let us know about it. It'd be interesting to compare it with a Segway, which is another really expensive way to get from point A to point B.
You may never have heard of the French automotive company Matra. You've probably seen some of their designs and cars that they have built for other companies such as Renault, though. For instance, the strange and strangely popular Renault Espace minivan was initially made by Matra for Renault. They also have a rather successful history of racing, in Formula 1, Formula 2 and at Le Mans. The moped-like bike you see above and here in our gallery seems to be from the same company, although they do not produce cars anymore. The bike is electric and also allows for pedaling. The range of 60 miles or so could be increased with human power. Although limited to a bit less than 30 miles per hour, the bike can likely go faster, but it would lose out on being considered a moped and therefore would require a motorcycle license. This electric bike should be available for sale in Europe in the not-too-distant future, but no word on whether it'll make it to the States.
Interesting features of this electric bike include the disk brakes and their unusual mounting-system. The bike also supports regenerative braking. My guess is that batteries are stored in the rack above the rear wheel, but the round enclosure around the hub of the front wheel probably has batteries in it as well, while the other one at the rear is likely the motor. Looks like a fun little commuting machine!
Not too long ago, we heard about an electric motorcycle from a Swiss company known as Quantya. At that time, we wished that the machine was available in the States so that we could take a ride on one. Guess what? Our wishes have been granted! Not only is the bike available here, but we got a chance to ride the latest version of the machine in Arizona. Although we didn't have an opportunity to take the bike off-road, we got to terrorize the neighborhood with it... and we sure had fun doing it. Powered by a custom pancake-style motor from Lemco along with a custom LiPo battery pack featuring 48 volts and 40 Ah, the machine has no problem getting out and moving. According to the manufacturer, you'll get about 25 miles at a steady 40 miles per hour with the standard pack. The bike weighs in at 195 pounds and feels very light. The Marzocchi 35 mm Shiver fork works perfect in this application, as does the Sachs single shock.
We'd have loved to have a chance to compare the bike directly with a gas-powered bike, but weren't able to arrange it. We can say for sure that the bike has no problem overpowering the rear tire or lofting the front end over obstacles. Power output felt about equal to a good-running 250 four-stroke bike. Expect the electric off-road bike to be priced under ten grand with on-road versions expected to follow shortly.
While it is not uncommon for electric bikes to have a front hub motor or for them to have batteries mounted on the rear racks, these are the first pair of wheels that I have seen with solar panels integrated into them. I think that the idea is pretty cool, and can't really think of another place on a bike where there is enough real estate for an effective amount of solar cells to be mounted. Wheels like these are likely a bit more aerodynamic, but could pose a bit of an issue if there are heavy side-winds. Still, with this bike you could pedal when the going was easy and engage the motor when the going gets tough - and all the while never need to gas it up or plug it in.
Just how do you think up a HUMMER H2 scooter?
This is the New Hummer Scooter in the future available in Gasolene Version "Groan"
Will they follow the Hummer EV path and make an Electric Version Cool!
The Roadster is fast becoming established as the ultimate in luxury production golf car/neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) to hit the fairways and roadways. That’s right, the Roadster is available with NEV Certification as an additional option, which includes the installation of safety belts. The NEV option also includes government certification of the Roadster, making it street legal as well. Not only does the Roadster have stunning sleek looks beyond those of standard golf carts, it is also designed with functionality in mind as well. It is a true luxury golf car, featuring a Hi-Power 11 Peak Horsepower electric motor that will speed you up and down the hills and slopes of your golf course or community. And if you have a long day ahead of you the, Roadster is the only electric vehicle in its class that will take you 70 miles on a single charge.
Roadster Limo. This new model is designed to carry six passengers, four facing forward and two facing the rear. It is equipped with a larger motor that boasts an extra 33% horsepower and 50% more torque to make sure you and your passengers arrive at your destination quickly and reliably.
The Roadster Limo is also available as a certified Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV). The NEV enables you to License the Roadster Limo as a community vehicle that can take you on the road to your favorite store, the marina, local dining or anywhere your local travels take you. There is no doubt, where ever you go, you will be the talk of the town.
Delta-Q IntelliQ-Q on-board Charging System.
Trojan T-875 Batteries
Hi-speed, Extended Range
In-Dash 12-volt Power Source In-Dash
Golf Bag Attachment
fficially Licensed Design...The HUMMER™ H3™ is the first proportionally correct and only Licensed custom Estate/Golf Car styled after the H3™ HUMMER™. It includes standard features such as 15 inch custom built and proportioned HUMMER™ wheels, rugged all aluminum I-beam chassis, Genuine HUMMER™ Chrome grill, standard equipment includes functional headlights, tail lights, turn signals and fog lights. Patent Pending 180 degree tailgate. The all new HUMMER™ H3™ Estate/Golf Car is the new industry standard for custom luxury electric vehicles.
Engineered to be the best custom luxury electric vehicle, the HUMMER™ H3™ was designed on a rugged all aluminum I-beam chassis. It boasts the roomiest seating area and the most legroom of any other Custom Electric Vehicle in the world. The interior is ergonomically designed with cup holders in the center console, and all of the controls and switches right at your fingertips. The HUMMER™ H3™ Estate/Golf Car uses a long range 48-volt system to ensure maximum range while delivering optimal power to the high torque motor. The HUMMER™ H3™ Estate/Golf Car also features the highest quality components available for the Electric Golf vehicle industry. It comes with a programmable Alltrax, Inc. 4844 Electronic speed controller, a front wheel hydraulic disk brake system that is coupled with a fully self adjusting rear drum brake system, an onboard DeltaQ Technologies IntelliQ computer controlled charging system so that you can drive and charge your car anywhere there is an available power outlet, and industry leading Trojan T-875 batteries which are all standard features. For added usability, the car is equipped with an onboard 48volt to 12volt converter giving you a 12volt power outlet right on the dash to charge your cell phone or provide power for your laptop so that you can stay in touch with the world while you are on the course. As standard safety enhancements the HUMMER™ H3™ Estate/Golf Car is outfitted with working headlights, brake lights, turn signal lights, a working horn, reverse warning buzzer and a standard 4 wheel braking system.
Delta-Q IntelliQ-Q on-board Charging System.
Trojan T-875 Batteries
Hi-speed, Extended Range
In-Dash 12-volt Power Source In-Dash
Golf Bag Attachment