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Old 12-10-2012, 06:36 AM   #31
Duken4evr
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Nice post Spaceman.

The most intriguing EV on the road today for me is the Chevy Volt. Mrs. Duke rarely drives more than 20 miles a day, but once in awhile needs to go farther. The Volt's layout is perfect for the suburban kid hauling mom. I suppose they depreciate like mad. That would be nice. Perhaps someday we could actually own one. God knows a new 40K vehicle (even with tax incentives) is not in the cards.

Seems to me a setup like the Volt, with a small diesel on board, would be a good way to go for efficiency and range. Not exciting perhaps, but I gave up on my cars being exciting a long time ago. Got the bike for that
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:42 AM   #32
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Nice job, Spaceman, on the well-reasoned comments. Both sides of the e-vehicle argument need to be heard.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Spaceman View Post
Being skeptical isn't being a wiseass; it's being smart.

This is from Troy Siahann's article on Zero on March 1 this year:
"Starting with the powertrain, the DS features the new Z-Force power pack. Gone is the 4.2 kW/h battery, replaced with the ZF6 (6 kW/h) or ZF9 (9 kW/h) power pack. While bigger is generally better, in plain English this means the DS has a range of up to 112 miles with the ZF9 power pack, according to Zero and an EPA urban driving cycle test. The standard ZF6 achieves a claimed 76 miles, which is more than double the range of last year’s machine.It gets better. The new battery packs are designed to last 3000 full charge-discharge cycles before reaching 80% capacity. In the real world, that means the original battery can last over 300,000 miles. It’s so stout, Zero says it’ll last the life of the motorcycle."

That's double the capacity in one year. If we back it up a couple of years when MO started covering E-bikes, the ranges were more in the 30-40 mile area. I honestly don't think it's a stretch to say they've tripled their range.
"...Gone is the 4.2 kW/h battery, replaced with the ZF6 (6 kW/h) or ZF9 (9 kW/h) power pack. While bigger is generally better, in plain English this means the DS has a range of up to 112 miles with the ZF9 power pack, according to Zero and an EPA urban driving cycle test."

So they put a bigger battery pack in the bike?

That doesn't prove that that the technology has moved ahead that far, only that the new battery pack in that particular model is better (bigger) than the one it replaced.

What I want to know is what the upper limit of current battery technology is. I already know that it's not nearly enough to rival ICEs. By the way, that's the fact as stated by people who are working to develop battery technology, not anti-EV folks.

Remember the first Mission Motors prototype? I do. And I remember them claiming 150mph and 150-mile range. That was a few years ago and we're nowhere near that.

Tesla has made all sorts of claims about range, most of them subjective at best. The Roadster was supposed to get like 244 miles per charge. By most accounts, it didn’t get close, even when driven gently. A sports car you can’t drive hard? A journalist from Car and Driver babied one on a round trip test and, when he realized he wouldn’t come close to making it, stopped in a hotel for the night to charge it.

I won’t take the manufacturers at their word when it comes to range claims. I can’t recall many manufacturers actually claiming 30-40 miles per charge; they were usually significantly higher. And the new EPA standard is arguably unrealistic. Maybe it’s a bit more realistic for an urban micro car, but who’s going to ride a sporty (or any) motorcycle like that? Better question: Who wants to?

Then there’s the very real possibility that conventional battery technology is reaching maximum potential. Without a big breakthrough, I wouldn’t expect continued doubling or tripling year over year. I guess we’ll see.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:52 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by pdad13 View Post

Remember the first Mission Motors prototype? I do. And I remember them claiming 150mph and 150-mile range. That was a few years ago and we're nowhere near that.

I won’t take the manufacturers at their word when it comes to range claims. I can’t recall many manufacturers actually claiming 30-40 miles per charge; they were usually significantly higher. And the new EPA standard is arguably unrealistic. Maybe it’s a bit more realistic for an urban micro car, but who’s going to ride a sporty (or any) motorcycle like that? Better question: Who wants to?
Everyone would be smart to be skeptical of the claimed range of every e-vehicle, especially from a few years ago when there wasn't an EPA standard for testing them. But now that there is a standard, it forces manufacturers to be a lot more honest about what they say about range. The test might not be similar to how you'd ride or drive, but at least it's consistent. Also, e-vehicles previously weren't loaned out to the press for more than a few hours, which never gave a the opportunity to properly test their ranges. That's now changed.

About the Mission R, its range was never verified, AFAIK, by an independent party, so it's claim for range was likely very fictional. Too bad, as that thing was fast and it looked sensational. However, it's price tag if it ever went into production likely would've been north of $50K, so it's no surprise that entering production wasn't in their plans.

Zero's new S models with its high-capacity battery are said to have a 137-mile range on the EPA cycle and have a top speed of 95 mph. Both of those stats are huge leaps from just a couple of years ago. Advances in engineering on e-bikes and battery tech will continue to come quickly. Maybe not as fast as we'd all like to see, but it will be fun to watch.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:55 AM   #35
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Plus one on what PeeBad said! (Remember our KP names?)

These performance and mileage claims start out as lies when they don't tell you that range and performance can't be had at the same time.

It reminds me of the old "claimed dry weight" of yesteryear.

It seems that no electrics are ever seen in a magazine "long term test" like other bikes. I'm sure it's fun zipping around for 50 miles. Electric motors are torquey and fun.

But, day to day, 50 miles gets old and long recharge times would be even worse.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:39 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke View Post
Zero's new S models with its high-capacity battery are said to have a 137-mile range on the EPA cycle and have a top speed of 95 mph. Both of those stats are huge leaps from just a couple of years ago. Advances in engineering on e-bikes and battery tech will continue to come quickly. Maybe not as fast as we'd all like to see, but it will be fun to watch.
Okay. The question is, "What speed do you have to travel to achieve 137 miles?" I suspect it's some uselessly low speed like 17mph.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:26 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by The Spaceman View Post
I was thinking about the e-vehicle discussion over the weekend, and a point came to mind:

Elon Musk made himself a billionaire by recognizing a need for a service that seems pretty obvious now, but that nobody else thought of or got out there before Pay Pal. After making his billions, Musk decided to go into space and electric vehicles.

On the space side, the journals and press pretty much dismissed Space-X as a distraction or hobby for Musk. I read several articles in Aviation Week and Space Technology over the years that basically said "this dot-com startup will never be able to compete with the likes of McDonnell Douglas, Pratt and Whitney, Lockheed, etc." Musk built his team, they built the Falcon 1 to prove their Merlin engine and vehicle, then they built the Falcon 9, which is what put their Dragon capsule in orbit to the ISS, and in 2014 they'll launch the Falcon Heavy from Vandenberg, which will be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V. Meanwhile, Dragon capsules are taking cargo to and from the ISS on a regular schedule. They kicked the traditional space-launch industry's ass.

The same Mr. Musk is building e-vehicles. The Tesla Roadster wasn't a breakthrough, but the new "S" is an order of magnitude better than anything that anyone else is building now. There's a much less expensive "X" planned for release in 2014. Musk isn't waiting for the government or anyone else to build out the charging infrastructure, he's going to private businesses and cutting deals to put solar panels on their roofs and storage batteries in their buildings, and creating a network of recharge stations in the process.

So my point is, look at WHO is leading the way as much as what is being done. A true entrepreneur, a capitialist; just like the early aviation leaders like Hughes and Tripp.

When a company goes to market with a product or service, there is generally one of two things it's trying to do: serve an existing need or create a new one (Apple, for example, has done the latter masterfully).

I think PayPal is probably an example of the second, although it's debatable. You could argue that PayPal started out as an alternative to the credit card and that there was already a recognized need for a secure, fast online payment method, and one certainly recognized by some online retailers. Regardless, Musk & Co. saw the opportunity and made something that worked.

To me, Space-X is an example of the first: serving an existing--or emerging--need. More cost-effective space transport has got to be very desirable today, especially considering the only organizations who did it were NASA, the ESA and the Russian Space Agency. So it required a new private industry for an emerging market. Again, kudos to Musk & Co.

But, EVs, I think are a whole different ball of wax. Tesla and the like are competing in a very mature market that's filled with practical, reliable and economical competitors. EVs are currently a sub-segment of the auto market, not something unto themselves, so they'll have to compete for consumers' money. That means that Tesla and Brammo and Zero and Fisker, etc., etc., ultimately will have to convince enough of us that their products offer more, or at least as much, value than the gasoline, diesel and hybrid models out there already.

And they just don't.

Will they in the future? Sure, maybe. But how far in the future? And can these companies survive until then? I'm not so sure. Tesla would have been out of business three years ago if not for a $465 million loan from the DOE. The company has been bleeding money forever. I love the commitment to investment and a long range goal, but how long will it take?

I think the more promising role for EVs for most people is as a secondary vehicle, but then they've got to get prices way down. And I just don't see that happening anytime soon.

This isn't a slam on MO because the article is pretty balanced, but the subhead of this piece sums up the heightened expectations and hype that surround these things now:

"The e-bike we've been waiting for."

Is it, really?

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Old 12-12-2012, 01:05 PM   #38
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If it moves tax it. It if keeps moving regulate it. If it is still moving subsidize it. EVs are not moving and being subsidized. WTFO. They are not following the rules.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:09 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdad13 View Post

"The e-bike we've been waiting for."

Is it, really?
It is. In 2012...
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:10 PM   #40
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It is. In 2012...

Touche, Kevin. But I think most of us will be waiting a while longer.

I don't dislike the concept of EVs, which is why I've been keeping an eye on them. What worries me is the way they're being marketed and the seeming consensus that they are "the future."

I think the reality is much more complex than that. EVs are only part of the picture. In the meantime, billions of dollars of subsidies are being pumped into what appear to be losing propositions. Elon Musk himself has admitted that even with the Model S, which is being heralded as a big leap in EVs, Tesla may not survive the year. Each Model S is being sold at a loss. When's the last time you saw a Brammo roll by?

I'd like to know how much funding is going into alternative fuels, new nuclear technology and hydrogen fuel cells compared to what is being spent on EVs. There are other ideas that show promise. I hope we're not putting too many eggs in the electric basket.
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