loz , i've been reading your motorcycle articles for a while now. years. they are great. and you made me really happy because as an electric bicycles and e-moto enthusiast, THE CHARGING TIME ISSUE IS EVERYTHING. i've done many comparisons to 110v-15amp circuit breaker outlets veruss the 220 volt outlets versus fast charging. i've done the math and the economics and i really see the industry as a whole as simply waiting for higher C-rate CHARGING speeds. the way i see it-----the real gains will come in the cell phones first. then power tools , then ebikes, than e-motos. as it stands , these charging times are just ludicrous. the workaround of tesla is MASSIVE battery packs. the workaround of most other companies is using gasoline engines as generator 'range' extenders. frankly, i don't see the future of Electric vehicles being particularly exciting until the charging times come down. riding Ebikes is clearly FAR SUPERIOR to riding gasoline 50cc scooters. in my humble opinion on the streets of nyc , the ebike e-moto is just amazing because electric MOTORS are the future of all transport. it's the battery that is the real problem though now. and teslas new factories aren't going to solve that problem. i'm glad to see even with the existing technology we have now, there are people at zero motorcycles working on this. i've seen one of the earlier generations of zero motorcycles parked on the street in new york. that was 3 years ago. the owner LOVED it and communicated as much while speaking with me about it. still, charging is a real bitch..... and frankly, i'm shocked you mentioned vetter and hirshner. hirshner made a well publicized ride in his streamlined electric vehicle this year. vetter is well known in his micro niche. i've spoken with him. i got the sense he was resigned to the realities of the 'market' for ebikes. i'd really like to see a micro light e-moto without pedals meant for city use, with cruiser style seat height and relatively streamlined shell body, under 24mph with minimal suspension and a single zero motorcycles pack offering 3kwh of charge. weighing in at under 120 pounds. i think it's doable..... probably at like a nice pricey 6k$ or something. anyways i really liked your review. i find it so sad that people don't often want to touch the biggest taboo of electrics----THE CHARGING.
I think they should make a factory built streamliner, why not? Even if it sells in low volume it would be very easily identifiable. You could nearly double the range, boost cargo room significantly, and there could be enough room on the tail section for a company logo for fleet vehicles or something. It would be one of those designs a lot of people think is ugly but everyone recognizes which could be good marketing if nothing else: http://i.imgur.com/Nd2Y9R8.jpg With the extra room they could probably factory equip it with the extra charger and stuff too. Right now the Zero SR with power tank will do 185 miles city, 115 highway (55 MPH) and only 94 at 70 MPH so there is a huge penalty at 70 MPH with poor aerodynamics. The streamlined version is said to double the mileage at 70 MPH. Some of the streamlined 250 ninjas get 100 MPG or so. It would be cool to see a factory built aerodynamic bike because I don't think there is one on the market currently. I'm also curious if it would be possible to take something like a can am spyder and fit it with a massive 30-40 kWh battery. I'm sure it would be heavy but it wouldn't matter that much as long as the weight is low and on 3 wheels.
Sven Ollino
Juicy article. Thanks Loz!
Need range extender. either a fuel cell or gasoline engine that will provide electricity to the motor.. Volt design. Range anxiety is a marketing term. Terminal range sounds better. No transportation product will be marketable with it might go 180 but don't be shocked for 90. Little hill here and little hill there and you won't know when you will be stranded. And only suicidal kids will commute with it in urban settings. And yes I read them dying every few days.
Terry Hershner
Great article and great meeting you at Zero Loz. While I might be pushing the limits with extreme modifications, a J1772 and dual Elcon charging kit from Hollywood Electrics can bring charging time down to around 90 minutes, or time for a nice restaurant lunch, and then back on the road. Streamlining isn't currently available as a bolt on kit, but when it is later this year by Craig Vetter, it will increase the highway range by about double. After that happens, I can't really imaging anyone "choosing" to ride a petrol bike over electric. I've had a dozen gas bikes including Ninja's and a couple YZF-R1's, and after riding a Zero for a few weeks, I never wanted to get on any of my gas bikes again. Riding a Zero is just a better ride experience and a lot more fun in my opinion. Thanks! Terry
A seldom mentioned problem with charging EVs is the extreme user unfriendliness of the sort of industrial currents that are necessary to put any significant amount of juice into one of these things. I've seen the effects of industrial strength electricity when it gets out of hand, and a slightly dodgy electrical connection - damp, dirty, or worn - is not even slightly user friendly. I can see a rapidly expanding area of scope for the compensation lawyers opening up here. Incidentally, I actually rode an electrically powered off-road motorcycle around half a century ago, a modified BSA trials bike that appeared at the Motorcycle Show in Blackpool. UK. There's nothing new under the sun!
Great article! Additional fast charging options have been made by Hollywood Electrics which have been used by Terry Hershner and myself to travel across the country and a few other people use it too. No electrical engineering knowledge necessary, just strap them on and go! I hope to see a cruiser-style bike in the future with farings to improve range. Once range is up to 200+ miles on a charge, that will meet the needs of nearly every rider.
I'm going to echo Daishi here, with a couple of qualifiers: Yes, Zero really needs to consider doing a reverse trike a-la Can-Am. However, if it were designed with a recumbent seating position in mind, this would make a great platform for the "streamlining" concept with the right canopy design, *and* turn this into the ideal commuter platform (all-weather is a must). But take it a step further and make it tilting at the same time, and you'll retain the excitement of the motorcycle ethos that resonates with die-hards. (Something that I think the Spyder has missed - certainly why I wouldn't ever buy one.) Check out the Tripendo tricycle - just beef it up to motorcycle durability and you're good to go.
Mark Yormark
This statement in the above article is wrong... "So why not go up to a higher voltage that would work with the existing charging infrastructure? "If we went to 300 volts, it would hurt you on every front that matters," says Zero's Senior Battery Specialist Luke Workman. "We'd have lower efficiency, lower power, higher cost, higher drive train heat – and in terms of life safety for the guys that are working on these things, you go from a nasty tickle … to dead. The majority of electric vehicles that are using higher voltages are doing so simply because they've been designed using legacy equipment. You'll see a lot more EVs going low voltage in the future." This statement goes against physics as it relates to Ohm's Law. Volts times amperes equals watts. Watts is a measurement of power. The higher the voltage the smaller the components become because physically the wires contained do not need to carry as much current, (amperes) to make the the same power, (watts).
The packing factor for cylinders is 0.90 so unless one does not need cooling passages the much-ballyhooed flat cell has no more than a 10% space advantage. The article states plumbing is necessary for function so the advantage is less than 10%. Tesla and Elon Musk are smarter than Zero gives credit. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/CirclePacking.html